QUESTIONS have been raised over the state government's decision to allow floodplain harvesting briefly as heavy rains lashed the region.
Rivers in the New England North West sprung back to life this week as the skies opened offering small reprieve after two of the driest years on record.
It sparked some localised flooding in the region and a controversial decision by the state government.
The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) and the Flood Plain Harvesting team took to the air yesterday to investigate the extent of flooding and check the claims of infrastructure damage.
While embargoes remain in place along the Northern Valley and Barwon-Darling Rivers, a small number of temporary exemptions were given to properties affected by flooding.
These embargo exemptions were only temporary, lasting for a few days.
"There has been more than 250mm of rain in some locations across the Namoi and Lower Gwydir, resulting in large volumes of overland flow on the floodplains in these areas, but also flash flooding and property damage," NSW water minister Melinda Pavey said.
Independent NSW MP Justin Field criticised the decision and said the floodplain water would've played an important role in drought recovery.
"This first flush is critical for the starved rivers and wetlands across the system and should have been given a chance to reach as far down the system as it can," Mr Field said.
"Instead we're going to see some of that water held back for private use and the reality is that many of the works to divert that water have never been approved and aren't licensed."
Mr Field said many of the works used to capture or redirect water on floodplains have never been formally approved with a prolonged process to determine approval and licensing of floodplain harvesting not due to be completed until 2021.
"The integrity of water management in NSW requires transparency and accountability and those two things are sadly lacking in NSW," he said.