Water management plan audits

Auditing water management plans to ascertain whether their provisions are being given effect to

The Commission has a role under Section 44 of the Water Management Act 2000 to audit water management plans within the first five years of each plan to ascertain whether their provisions are being given effect to.

The water management plans comprise:

  • Water sharing plans - statutory documents that establish the rules for sharing water between the environment and other water users.
  • Floodplain management plans - provide the framework for coordinating flood work development to minimise future changes to flooding behaviour, and for increasing awareness of risk to life and property from flooding.

The Commission is undertaking limited assurance audits in accordance with the following Australian standards:

Our auditors abide by the Commission’s code of ethics and conduct. Key to how we operate are the following ethical requirements: integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour.

The Commission’s role commenced on 1 December 2018 under changes to the Water Management Act 2000. The Commission’s audit approach is described in the audit framework.

Audit scopes

At the commencement of each group of audits, the Commission may seek feedback on its preliminary audit scopes. There is no consultation underway at present.

Final audit scopes for current audits:

Audit of the implementation of floodplain management plans for the Lachlan, Murray and Murrumbidgee

The Commission has audited the following 10 floodplain management plans (FMPs) for the Lachlan, Murray and Murrumbidgee regions to ascertain whether the provisions of the FMPs are being given effect to, as required under Section 44 of the Water Management Act 2000 (the Act):

  • Billabong Creek (Walbundrie to Jerilderie) 2006
  • Edward and Niemur Rivers Moama-Moulamein Rly to Liewah and Mallan (Stage 3) 2010
  • Edward and Wakool Rivers Deniliquin to Moama-Moulamein Railway (Stage 1) 2010
  • Edward and Wakool Rivers Noorang Rd to Wakool-Murray Junction (Stage 4) 2010
  • Lachlan River Gooloogong to Jemalong Gap 2011
  • Lachlan River Jemalong Gap to Condobolin 2012
  • Lachlan River Lake Brewster Weir to Whealbah (Hillston) 2005
  • Murrumbidgee River Hay to Maude 2014
  • Tuppal and Bullatale Creeks Murray River offtake to Deniliquin 2004
  • Wakool River Moama-Moulamein Railway to Gee Gee Bridge (Stage 2) 2010

The Commission considers that the provisions of the FMPs have not been given full effect in accordance with the Act. The audit conclusion is based on the procedures performed and the evidence obtained.

The Commission has made the following findings:

  • Approvals assessment, granting or refusal and application of conditions were carried out in line with requirements. However, some improvements could be made regarding how the hydraulic, environment and cultural impact assessments are carried out.
  • A reactive compliance and enforcement regime was in place during the audit period and is ongoing.
  • No evidence was provided to demonstrate that provisions related to required modifications to existing works have been implemented during the audit period.
  • Provisions related to performance indicators were not implemented within the audit period.
  • Provisions relating to flood monitoring and environmental monitoring were not implemented within the audit period.
  • Provisions relating to FMP review were not implemented in accordance with the five-year timeframe prescribed by the Act.

The Commission has made the following recommendations:

  • DPIE-Water, as the overseeing agency for FMPs, to develop and coordinate implementation of a strategy to address the required modifications identified in the FMPs.
  • DPIE-Water to lead the assessment and monitoring of performance indicators and use these data to support decision making for FMP implementation and review.
  • DPIE-Water to review FMP flood and environmental monitoring requirements in line with the principles, objects and key provisions of the Act, and ensure there are appropriate arrangements in place to implement these requirements in advance of flood events.
  • DPIE-Water to review the FMPs, as required under the Act, as soon as practicable.

Improving the implementation of FMPs will provide confidence that:

  • rules and criteria regarding existing and proposed flood works are being applied consistently and fairly
  • floodplain structures are being managed to acceptable levels of risk to life, property and public or private assets
  • flood flows are likely to be maintained to environmental and cultural assets that require periodic flooding.

Auditee responses to the audit report:

Audits currently underway

Completed audits

Upcoming audits

Stay informed

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