Independent panel releases draft assessment of Northern Basin first flush event

The first stage of the Independent Panel Assessment of the Management of the 2020 Northern Basin First Flush Event has been completed and a draft report is now available, Secretary of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Jim Betts has announced.

Mr Betts said the Independent Panel has reviewed actions undertaken during the first flush event and has made recommendations on how the Department, WaterNSW and the Natural Resources and Access Regulator can improve management of future events.

“In mid-January and early February this year northern NSW experienced significant rainfall and a series of temporary water restrictions, including on floodplain harvesting, were put in place to manage the first flows and secure water for critical human needs,” he said.

“The restrictions imposed led to significant flows downstream, providing relief for drought-stricken towns, farmers and the environment.

“The draft report acknowledges the positive impacts of the water restrictions but also makes recommendations on how government agencies can improve systems and processes to ensure future first flush events are managed more effectively and better communicated.

“I want to thank the panel – Dr Wendy Craik and Greg Claydon – for their work so far, which will help us improve how we manage water restrictions in the future.”

Feedback on the draft Independent Panel Assessment of the Management of the 2020 Northern Basin First Flush Event can be submitted online until 9 August 2020.

A final report is expected to be received at the end of August 2020.

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