FARMERS, industry groups and the community have been encouraged by Ballina MP Don Page to comment on a draft water sharing plan for the Brunswick River catchment.
Mr Page said the Brunswick water sharing plan is one of a series of water sharing plans the NSW Government is developing across the State for unregulated rivers and groundwater.
"I would like to encourage the community to get involved in the consultation process and make a comment on the Brunswick water sharing plan to ensure their concerns are considered," Mr Page said.
"Once finalised, the plan will be legally binding for 10 years and will set the rules for how water will be shared between water users and the environment.
"The plan provides benefits to irrigated agriculture and other extractive industries through clearly defined, equitable, perpetual and compensable shares in the available water and access rights.
"The plan will also benefit the environment by clearly defining and protecting environmental flows, providing protection for groundwater dependent ecosystems and through annual and daily limits on irrigation access.
"The plan includes the townships of Brunswick Heads, Mullumbimby and Byron Bay and covers the 10 sub-catchments and the associated alluvial aquifers within the Brunswick catchment and in the adjacent smaller coastal catchments of Belongil and Tallow Creeks.
"The plan also includes the Upper Brunswick River water source by replacing the 2004 water sharing plan for that water source."
The NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Land and Water, Kevin Humphries said the Brunswick catchment plays a crucial role in providing water for the long-term security for local farming, industries, towns and the environment.
"The NSW Government, landholders and the community recognise that we must manage our rivers and groundwater sustainably and this water sharing plan for the Brunswick catchment is a significant step in that direction," Mr Humphries said.
The public consultation period will run until March 30.
The plan can be viewed at the NSW Office of Water website www.water.nsw.gov.au or at their Wollongbar or Murwillumbah office, or at Byron Shire Council at Mullumbimby.
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