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What do valley-wide Floodplain Management Plans mean to cotton growers and irrigation farmers?

Apr 23 2015

What do valley-wide Floodplain Management Plans mean to cotton growers and irrigation farmers?

Owners and operators of irrigation infrastructure across NSW will soon be operating under valley-wide Flood Management Plans (FMPs), prepared under the Water Management Act 2000.  These will replace existing local FMPs, beginning with the northwestern valleys.  The valley-wide FMPs will have a major impact on the way approvals are assessed.  Extensive areas of NSW floodplains (Figure 1) are developed for irrigated crop production; these areas are important suppliers of food and fibre and contribute significantly to regional economies

Management Zones

The new FMPs divide the valleys into four zones for management purposes.  These are designated Management Zones (MZ) A, B, C and D; strict rules and conditions will apply to development within each of these zones. 

MZA represents core floodways and major drainage lines that convey water in virtually all flood events;

  • MZB comprises areas that are flooded only during large flood events.  These are important areas for temporary pondage and conveyance;

  • MZC relates to naturally elevated areas and existing approved flood protection and other controlled works;

  • MZD is environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands.

The vast majority of irrigation land and infrastructure will fall into MZA and MZB classifications unless recognised as existing approved works. Within MZA, it is proposed that a height restriction of 150mm will apply to any new works or activities (for example, banks, roads or channels), or existing works seeking retrospective approval.  Works in MZB will be exempt from approval if they are less than 150mm high; works between 150 and 400mm high will require approval, and works more than 400mm will require advertising prior to approval.


Total: 2 Comment(s)
Trent Thompson
Trent Thompson  Approval process When the new FMP for your valley is in place, the new rules will apply to both the approval of new works and to modifications to existing works or approvals. If you are planning to construct anything (for example, a flood protection levee or road) that is more than 150mm in height you will be required to provide comprehensive independent supporting technical data. This will probably include a detailed topographic survey, specialised flood impact modelling and a comprehensive environmental assessment.
Trent Thompson

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