What has been called ‘an historic step’ to help New South Wales coastal farmers produce more and better prepare for drought and bushfires by the NSW Government has now also been condemned as putting coastal rivers, lakes and communities at risk.
The aim to increase irrigation water for the state's coastal farmers might have been welcomed by some, but according to some it will affect environmental flows along the coast to sustain estuaries and their associated agricultural industries.
Coastal farmers and landholders can currently store 10 per cent of the rain that falls on their properties. That will increase to 30 per cent if new rules are adopted. Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said these changes would improve water security for property owners and assist with reducing bushfire risk for coastal towns.
Independent NSW MLC Justin Field has slammed NSW Water Minister for caving to the vested interests in the horticulture sector - particularly the blueberry industry on the North Coast - by allowing a tripling of water harvesting rights which will strip billions of litres of water from NSW's coastal rivers from the Bega to the Tweed and increase the risk of coastal communities running out of water in future droughts.
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