Local News

MP Chris Gulaptis

Sustainable future for Clarence and Richmond Valley farmers as nationals in NSW Government triple local harvestable water rights.

A decision by the Nationals in NSW Government to allow greater water capture by tripling harvestable rights will allow Clarence and Richmond Valley landholders to be much better prepared for future droughts and bushfires, according to Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis. 

“Farmers in the Clarence and Richmond Valleys and other coastal lands are currently only allowed to store one tenth of the rain that falls on their properties. The Nationals in Government have just increased that almost immediately to 30 per cent,” Mr Gulaptis said. 

“Make no mistake, this is a big deal: these common sense changes will improve water security for property owners and slash the bushfire in our communities.” 

Mr Gulaptis said during the 2019/20 bushfire season despite being in high rainfall areas, firefighters were unable to source water from nearby locations, which simply wasn’t good enough. 

“An increase in harvestable rights to 30 per cent means landholders can store more water for domestic and stock use and agriculture, allowing some farming operations to continue for longer, protecting local jobs and boosting local economies,” Mr Gulaptis said. 

Minister for Water, the Nationals’ Melinda Pavey said to prepare for future droughts, landholders need be able to capture water during wet periods to get them through those very tough, dry times. 

“It’s devastating to see the impact of drought on our towns. By holding more water in the wetter years, producers will be able to get through longer droughts and retain their staff growing the food from these regions we’ve all come to love” Mrs Pavey said. 

To balance this with the needs of the environment and downstream water users, water use will be restricted to domestic, stock and some agriculture uses, and farm dams will still only be allowed on first or second order streams.