2013 Water sharing plan reviews (31 plans)


Advice provided

Advice date:

June 2013


The Commission reviewed the following 31 water sharing plans due to expire in 2014. These included 14 plans in the Murray Darling Basin and 17 plans in coastal regions.

  • Adelong Creek
  • Alstoneville Plateau Groundwater
  • Apsley River
  • Castlereagh River above Binnaway
  • Commissioners Waters
  • Coopers Creek
  • Dorrigo Plateau Surface and Dorrigo Basalt Groundwater
  • Gwydir Regulated River
  • Hunter Regulated River
  • Jilliby Jilliby Creek
  • Kangaroo River
  • Karuah River
  • Kulnura Mangrove Mountain Groundwater
  • Lachlan Regulated River
  • Macquarie and Cudgegong Regulated Rivers
  • Mangrove Creek
  • Murrumbidgee Regulated River
  • NSW Murray and Lower Darling Regulated Rivers
  • Ourimbah Creek
  • Phillips Ck, Mooki River, Quirindi Ck and Warrah Creek
  • Rocky Ck, Cobbadah Upper Horton and Lower Horton
  • Stuarts Point Groundwater
  • Tarcutta Creek
  • Tenterfield Creek
  • Tomago TomareeStockton Groundwater
  • Toorumbie Creek
  • Upper Billabong
  • Upper Brunswick River
  • Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi Regulated River
  • Wandella Creek
  • Wybong Creek

In June 2013, the Commission provided a final report. The Commission found that it is likely the plans have contributed to the state-wide targets by:

  • providing certainty around water allocations, entitlements and extraction levels
  • supporting trade to encourage economically efficient water use
  • setting aside water for the environment and working towards more natural flow patterns
  • making progress in the recognition of Aboriginal cultural water values.

However, the Commission’s capacity to assess the extent or materiality of this contribution has been limited by a lack of available information on the outcomes of these plans.

Analysis against the Standard for Quality NRM indicated that these plans are an improvement on arrangements in place prior to 2004. However, more can still be done to improve monitoring, evaluation and reporting; increase transparency; address issues around risk; integrate surface and groundwater management; and minimise constraints on the carryover, trade and use of environmental water.

Overall, there is a weight of evidence indicating that replacing the plans would benefit both consumptive users and the environment. However, for plans within the Murray-Darling Basin, the replacement of any water sharing plans should be carefully timed to avoid duplication of effort and ensure the efficient use of government and community resources.

The Commission's recommendations were supported by opportunities for improvement, including improvements that may not require plan replacement.

The Commission's review was supported by an issues paper and 114 submissions from licence holders, industry and environment groups, members of local communities, and government stakeholders.

Key documents