A NSW Government website

Extraction limits

Tracking surface water extractions against extraction limits

Find out more about how extractions are tracking against extraction limits for inland surface water sources.

How and why we track surface water extraction

The amount of surface water that can be extracted from a surface water source is limited. While the amount extracted by all water users varies each year, on average it cannot exceed the extraction limits. All NSW water sharing plans include long-term average annual extraction limits (LTAAEL). In the Murray Darling Basin, Water Sharing Plans will also include the relevant Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) as set by the Basin Plan.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is responsible for checking LTAAEL compliance. For SDL compliance, NSW prepares and submits a self- assessment of compliance. SDL compliance assessment has been reviewed and published by MDBA, however; the compliance assessment responsibility has now been transferred to the Inspector-General Water Compliance which was formally established on 5 August 2021.

Important information

The Barwon-Darling has exceeded the Sustainable Diversion Limit compliance trigger in 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22. A series of make-good actions were agreed to with MDBA in 2021 and we continue to progress these. This includes a project to update the permitted take method as it was developed based on older less accurate metering. We estimate that this is the main reason for exceeding the compliance trigger.

The Gwydir has also exceeded the Sustainable Diversion Limit compliance trigger in 2021/22. This is predominantly from growth in floodplain harvesting. This growth has now been managed through floodplain harvesting licences, which came into effect on the 15 August 2022.

Read our 2021/22 Narrative Report to find out more. There is also further information on the Barwon Darling in our our FAQs.

Find out more about how these limits are defined and what the differences are between LTAAEL and SDL compliance.

Current and archived surface water LTAAEL assessments.

summary sentence 160 characters.

Assessment summaries for various regions.