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We are proposing changes to groundwater extraction limits

When the Basin Plan came into effect in 2012, it placed limits on how much water could be extracted from groundwater resources across the basin to ensure the continued sustainability of this water resource.

Groundwater is a finite resource that is only replenished when rainfall or surface water seeps into the aquifers. Groundwater in the basin is used for a wide range of things — such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and town water supply. The water quality in many groundwater areas is not as good as surface water because of high salt levels. This limits what you can use it for.

At the time the Basin Plan was established, it was identified there was a need to review the limits of three ground water areas. These areas were Eastern Porous Rock, Western Porous Rock and Goulburn-Murray.

The Eastern Porous Rock area covers inland north-east NSW within the bounds of Goondiwindi, Tamworth and Dubbo. The Western Porous Rock area covers south-western NSW within the bounds of Broken Hill, Ivanhoe and Wentworth and the Goulburn–Murray area covers the eastern half of the basin in Victoria, from the upper Murray to the Avoca River.

The MDBA is proposing to increase the extraction limit for the basin’s groundwater from 3,334 gigalitres (GL) per year to 3,494 GL per year.  The increase in extraction limits will have minimal impacts on the environment.

The change is a result of the recommendations provided by three independent reviews undertaken at the request of the New South Wales and Victorian governments. The reviews were conducted by groundwater specialists from research institutions, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the MDBA and state governments.  

You can review the supporting documents including a snapshot of the proposed groundwater amendments and the research reports.

We are inviting submissions from interested parties to provide feedback or to support the proposed changes of groundwater in the Basin Plan. You can do this by lodging a submission through our online portal. All submissions must be received by 5pm (AEST) on 10 February 2017.

At the end of the submission process, all feedback will be collated and used to inform the MDBA's final proposed amendment. A recommendation will be provided to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources for consideration. Once the Minister makes a decision the amendments will be tabled in parliament.

Farmer with bore pump
Farmer with bore pump
Farmer with bore pump
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Published on: 
Monday, December 5, 2016


In the Northern basin, the connectivity between ground and surface water is been tested with any depth.many places I have visited ,that have extraction Lic's are ,just a tetch close to the either source for any truthing. The same could be said of the Murrumbidgee.

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