Recent investigations show that there are significant gaps between
existing approvals and actual on-ground constructions. The reasons for these
variations include long outstanding applications still held by the department,
organic minor variations to existing operations, legal oversights and in some
cases, intentionally unapproved development.
If you have approval gaps, you should
address these prior to the implementation of the new FMP. If you wait until the FMP is in place, you
will need to apply under the new stringent rules and/or be made to remove or
modify the infrastructure.
In several instances, MZA areas
have been nominated as designated flood ways even though existing works have
been in place at the location for many years.
Land in these conflict areas could be removed from production, or at the
very least have its production capacity significantly diminished by removal of
its flood protection or other works and structures.
What Should Irrigators Do Now?
As a matter of urgency, you
should check all of your existing approvals and applications and ensure that
constructed infrastructure on your farm complies with this documentation.
Where you find any inconsistency,
take remedial action prior to the implementation of the new FMP. This
action may include submitting new or modified applications to address the gaps.
Otherwise you must be prepared to deal with the complex provisions of the new valley-wide
FMPs to remedy your compliance issues.
Take the time to review the
proposed draft valley-wide FMPs and make sure that the designated Management
Zones are not in conflict with your existing irrigation infrastructure and
operations. If you have a problem you must make representations to the NSW
Office of Water prior to the implementation of the plan.
Ensure that your investigation
process is detailed, technically correct and thorough, and includes all
existing survey detail for existing and future activities. Seek specialist
advice to confirm the status of your documentation.
If you have future development or
expansion plans for your irrigation enterprise it is strongly advised that
applications for the various approvals be lodged as soon as possible. New
proposals will be considerably more expensive to prepare under the new
provisions due to the high level technical information that will be required to
support applications. It is also anticipated that the development conditions
within the new FMPs will become a substantial barrier to new developments.
Need More Information?
You can get
more information about valley-wide FMPs, various types of water licences, fees
and application forms from NSW Office of Water’s website: www.water.nsw.gov.au
Planning has fact sheets on a range of related issues and services, available
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