Water allocation plan

The SA Arid Lands region has one water allocation plan (WAP) for the Far North Prescribed Wells Area. This plan provides responsible, fair and equitable water allocations for users of groundwater in this area while maintaining the health of our natural resources and ecosystems.  To assist in the interpretation and understanding of the Far North Prescribed Wells Area WAP an explanatory document has been produced. 

What is a WAP?

A WAP is a legal document that sets out the rules for managing the take and use of prescribed water resources to ensure resource sustainability. It is developed with the community, industry and key stakeholders for each water resource identified as being significant, or ‘prescribed’ under the Natural Resources Act 2004. A WAP ensures that the needs of the environment are taken into account when determining how much water is made available for consumptive purposes (licensed and non licensed). It sets the amount of water that will be available, how that water may be allocated to users, and the types of activities that are permitted with that water. Once a WAP is in place, water users can apply for a licence, transfer water between users as well as a range of other activities subject to the rules and limits of the WAP.

Why is a WAP important?

Water is a precious resource. There is a limit to how much is available for use on an ongoing basis, and so it is important to provide certainty to current and future users of water, particularly to those whose livelihoods depend on it. A WAP provides that certainty. WAPs give consideration to the environment, social and economical needs, and seek to ensure long term sustainability and security.

What is the WAP process?

1. Prescription of a water resource

Important water resources in South Australia are protected and managed by being ‘prescribed’ under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004. Prescription means that the water resource must be sustainably managed to provide security for all water users, now and into the future.

2. Development of a WAP

For each prescribed water resource, a WAP must be developed by the relevant regional NRM board. A WAP must meet the needs of the environment and the community. To ensure this, scientific investigations of the water resource and extensive community engagement are included in the development of a WAP.

There are six stages in the development of a WAP:

1. A concept statement is developed that outlines the proposed content of the WAP.
2. The community is given opportunities to help make decisions about the content of the concept statement.
3. Based on the decisions made about the concept statement, a draft WAP is prepared.
4. The community is again part of the decision making regarding the draft WAP.
5. Based on the decisions made about the draft WAP, a final WAP is developed that is submitted to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation for consideration.
6. The adopted WAP is reviewed within five years to ensure it is still meeting the needs of the environment and the community.

3. Implementation of a WAP: water allocation through licences and permits

Once the WAP is adopted by the Minister it is implemented. Based on the rules set out in the WAP, water is allocated to existing and new users. Water users apply for a licence, which sets out their allocation and the conditions under which they can take and use water.

Applying for a permit or licence

Find out about licences and permits for WAPs in the SA Arid Lands region.