New limits on farm watering

THE NSW government has introduced new limits on water extraction from the Tweed River in order to meet "critical needs", but only for agricultural users.

State Water Minister Phil% Koperberg yesterday said the% limits also applied to commercial water extraction in the Oxley, Richmond and Upper Brunswick rivers and Coopers Creek.

Mr Koperberg said he remained firmly in support of Tweed Valley residents opposed to the Rocky Cutting dam option for the Oxley River near Tyalgum.

"I strongly support the local community's opposition to federal government plans for new dams, they are potentially destructive for the local environment and the economy," Mr Koperberg said.

He said sporadic rain in June had provided temporary relief to the water crisis, but rivers and catchments on the Far North Coast were still experiencing %critically low flows.

Tweed Shire Council last week introduced limited water restrictions because of the low flows in the Tweed River.

Mr Koperberg has banned pumping from sections of the Upper Brunswick and Coopers Creek after water flows were recorded at less than one megalitre a day and less than 10 megalitres a day respectively.

"I have approved the introduction of water restrictions on commerical extraction from sections of the Tweed and Oxley rivers to a maximum of eight hours per day," Mr Koperberg said.

"The new restrictions will help ensure there is enough water to meet critical needs like town water, stock and domestic supplies, and to maintain river health.

"The water savings will make an important contribution to securing supply for these critical needs over the coming months.

"I thank licence holders and commerical users for their co-%operation and hope a return to normal pumping and extraction will occur soon."

Mr Koperberg said essential agricultural activities, including fruit washing and dairy wash-downs, would be able to continue despite the latest restrictions.

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