2016 Water sharing plan reviews (7 plans)




Status:

Advice provided

Advice date:

April 2016

Summary

The Commission reviewed seven water sharing plans, expiring in June 2017 or June 2018, examining the extent to which these plans have materially contributed to state priorities for Local Land Services, and whether changes to plan provisions are warranted.

Inland alluvial aquifer plans (covering water sources in the Murray-Darling Basin):

  • Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Gwydir Groundwater Source 2003 (commenced in 2006)
  • Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Lachlan Groundwater Source 2003 (commenced in 2007)
  • Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Macquarie Groundwater Source 2003 (commenced in 2006)
  • Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Murray Groundwater Source 2003 (commenced in 2006)
  • Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Source 2003 (commenced in 2006)
  • Water Sharing Plan for the Upper and Lower Namoi Groundwater Sources 2003 (commenced in 2006)

Coastal plan:

  • Water Sharing Plan for the Paterson Regulated River Water Source 2007

In April 2016, the Commission provided a final report to the Minister for Lands and Water. The Commission recommended replacement of the seven water sharing plans through:

  • ten recommendations specific to the six plans governing inland alluvial aquifers in the Murray-Darling Basin
  • six recommendations specific to the Water Sharing Plan for the Paterson Regulated River Water Source 2007 in the Hunter region
  • four recommendations applying to all seven plans and any future water sharing plans.

Replacing the water sharing plans creates opportunities to:

  • deliver better water sharing outcomes for all stakeholders
  • ensure current science and knowledge is at the forefront of water planning and reform
  • address monitoring, evaluation and reporting issues which could improve knowledge of plan outcomes into the future
  • improve community involvement in water planning by incorporating local knowledge
  • improve consistency with other plans, including those that are currently being replaced.

The DPI-Water undertook a parallel review of these plans, focusing on whether changes could be made to improve outcomes for the environment and water users, improve clarity, practicality and consistency, and reduce risks. This review also recommended replacement of the seven plans.

In July 2016, the Minister supported the Commission's recommendations to replace these plans.

The Commission's review was supported by 28 submissions, including two that were confidential.

Key documents