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Water resource plans

Water resource plans are documents that set out how water will be managed in an area.

Water resource plan areas generally correspond with existing Basin state water management areas. The 36 water resource plan areas in the Basin will cover the 110 surface water and groundwater sustainable diversion limit units.

The plan areas vary in the number of resources, their level of development, number of environmental assets, and geography affecting the way the rivers are run in each area. The plans will be tailored to each areas individual make up, while being consistent with the Basin Plan.

We are working with the states to build on their existing water management plans to meet the Basin Plan requirements by 30 June 2019.

The new water resource plans must:

  • set out held environmental water and planned environmental water including the rules and arrangements associated with the water
  • provide for the Basin-wide environmental watering strategy
  • set out how much water can be taken annually for consumptive use in a way that meets the long-term sustainable diversion limit (SDL), including the rules around the consumption of this water
  • include a plan to manage water quality standards
  • set out the circumstances when trade within and between groundwater SDL units, and trade from groundwater to surface water SDL units is allowed
  • outline how water will be managed during extreme events
  • show how Aboriginal values and uses have been considered
  • set out how interception activities including run off dams, commercial plantations, mining activities and floodplain harvesting will be managed and monitored. This needs to include any actions that can be taken to remedy any issues
  • outline the risks to the resource and strategies to address them.

To assist Basin states in the development of their water resource plans we developed the Handbook for practitioners — water resource plan requirements. The handbook explains the requirements for accreditation by the Australian Government minister responsible for water. A revision of the handbook is underway. A number of position statements have also been developed. These set out more information about the requirements of Chapter 10 of the Basin Plan.

Once a Basin state is satisfied they have met the requirements of the Basin Plan, they submit their plan to us for assessment. Following this assessment, we will make recommendations to the Australian Government minister. The decision to accredit the plan or not lies with the minister.

Water resource plan areas

There are 20 surface water resource plan areas:

  • Australian Capital Territory (surface water) (SW1)
  • Barwon–Darling watercourse (SW12)
  • Gwydir (SW15)
  • intersecting streams (SW13)
  • Lachlan (SW10)
  • Macquarie–Castlereagh (SW11)
  • Murrumbidgee (SW9)
  • Namoi (SW14)
  • New South Wales Border Rivers (SW16)
  • New South Wales Murray and lower Darling (SW8)
  • northern Victoria (SW3)
  • South Australian River Murray (SW6)
  • Victorian Murray (SW2)
  • Wimmera–mallee (surface water) (SW4).

Download the surface water resource plan area map.

There are 22 groundwater water resource plan areas:

  • Australian Capital Territory (groundwater) (GW1)
  • Goulburn–Murray (GW2)
  • Wimmera–mallee (groundwater) (GW3)
  • western porous rock (GW6)
  • Darling alluvium (GW7)
  • Murray alluvium (GW8)
  • Murrumbidgee alluvium (GW9)
  • Lachlan alluvium (GW10)
  • Lachlan and south western fractured rock (GW11)
  • Macquarie–Castlereagh alluvium (GW12)
  • New South Wales Great Artesian Basin shallow  (GW13)
  • Namoi alluvium (GW14)
  • Gwydir alluvium (GW15)
  • eastern porous rock (GW16)
  • New England fractured rock and northern basalts (GW17)
  • New South Wales Border Rivers alluvium (GW18).

Download the groundwater water resource plan area map.

There are 6 combined groundwater and surface water resource plan areas:

  • Condamine–Balonne (SW19)(GW21)
  • eastern Mount Lofty Ranges (SW7)(GW5)
  • Moonie (SW18)(GW20)
  • Queensland Border Rivers (SW17)(GW19)
  • South Australian Murray region (SW5)(GW4)
  • Warrego–Paroo–Nebine (SW20)(GW22).