An Objective Criteria for the Determination of Non-Tidal Riparian Boundaries in NSW

Smith, Lachlan (2018) An Objective Criteria for the Determination of Non-Tidal Riparian Boundaries in NSW. [USQ Project]


The aim of this project was to investigate the current policy and nature of NSW non-tidal rivers and streams to substantiate whether there is a viable alternative to the common law understanding of nontidal riparian boundaries in New South Wales (NSW).

Currently in NSW there is a practical disagreement and confusion within the surveying profession and land owners regarding the determination and legal understanding of defining non-tidal boundaries. There are two (2) conflicting conditions currently in NSW waterways. One is that natural flows of these waterways are very unlikely. The second condition is that gradual and imperceptible, as per the definition of the doctrine, is unlikely to occur. The background to the problem is which condition has greater weighting in which is less damaging and more practical. Protecting the rights of riparian owners and the public is the key factor as changes or fixtures of riparian boundaries affect these rights in many ways such that access cannot be obtained anymore, or any alienated creek severed land is not practical and unusable for their full enjoyment.

An analysis was undertaken into the need and requirements of an alternative proposal. The purpose of this analysis was to provide the framework for the content of a viable objective boundary determination proposal for NSW. Part of this process included using the information gained from the literature review to develop a set of industry specific key performance indicators to assess the appropriateness and long term viability of the current policy. Three (3) non-tidal riparian boundary surveys were conducted to assist in evaluating the effectiveness of the current policy. These watercourse were selected due to the varying characteristics of each and were used as representative case studies.

With the assistance from the case studies, available literature, and the completed evaluation, it can be stated that the current policy does not work. Conclusions can be made using the evidence gathered from the case studies that watercourses do not move in a gradual and imperceptible way essentially in every case. It is known that the doctrine cannot accommodate for Australian riverine conditions and this raises questions as to whether it was ever intended to handle them. Finally, this draws our attention to the fact that the current policy is not effective and needs to be improved. There is no clear alternative substantiated with evidence to the current situation. This will need to be explored by further research and testing conducted into what the viable alternative is.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Spatial Science (Honours)(Surveying)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Campbell, Glenn
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2021 06:03
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2021 06:03

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