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Nature Conservation Council v. New South Wales (NSW) Nature Conservation Council of NSW v Minister for Water, Property and Housing

Jurisdiction: Land and Environment Court New South Wales

Side A: Nature Conversation Council of New South Wales (Ngo)

Side B: Government of New South Wales (Government)

Core objectives: Whether climate change is considered in government decisions regarding water sharing plans.

In October 2021, the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) of New South Wales filed a case against the New South Wales government (NSW) to challenge the validity of the Border Rivers Water Sharing Plan. According to a news report, the plaintiffs have asked the court to invalidate the Border Rivers water sharing plan (WSP) in the Murray-Darling basin, on the grounds that decision-makers have failed to properly consider climate change. This case asserts that two State Ministers failed to account for future climate impacts and failed to factor in the impact of the most recent drought in Australia on one of the state’s key sources of freshwater, the Murray-Darling Basin. The plaintiffs rely on the rights of children and future generations to enjoy and benefit from healthy, functioning river systems. 

The plaintiffs allege that rivers in Australia are already being impacted by overextraction. Climate change will only worsen those impacts and amplify inequities already embedded in water sharing regimes, including for Indigenous Australians and future generations. The NCC asks the court to look at the impacts beyond the Border Rivers, including surrounding flood plains, and downstream rivers and communities, notably the Barwon-Darling/Barka River, since some of its flows come from the Border Rivers catchment. 

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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