The Barossa Prescribed Water Resources Area (PWRA)

The PWRA sits approximately 60 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, and covers approximately 520 km2. It includes much of the area commonly known as the Barossa Valley, including the towns of Nuriootpa, Tanunda, Angaston, Lyndoch and Greenock and the surrounding agricultural land, which is dominated by vineyards but also includes other primary production such as broadacre cropping and dairying. The prescribed resources include the underground water (prescribed in 1989), watercourses (prescribed in 1992) and surface water (prescribed in 1998) within the Barossa PWRA. The surface water and watercourses of the Greenock Creek catchment were prescribed in 2005.

The current Barossa Water Allocation Plan (WAP) was adopted in 2009, replacing the plan adopted in 2000. An explanatory guide below provides background to the development of the policies in the plan; an explanation of these policies; and answers to many commonly asked questions.

As a statutory document, forming part of the natural resources management plan for the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board region, the Barossa WAP is required to provide information on:

  • the environmental water requirements to sustain water dependent ecosystems
  • the present and future needs of water users, including landholders and the environment
  • the capacity of the resource to meet demand
  • providing an equitable balance between social, economic and environmental needs for water
  • the effect of the use of  water from the Barossa PWRA on other prescribed resources
  • rules for how water will be allocated for irrigation, commercial industry and the environment, as well as rules around how and where water can be transferred or traded
  • monitoring requirements to ensure that the Barossa WAP is protecting the resource for users, now and into the future.

Find out more on what a water allocation plan is and why it is important.

Find out about water licences and permits relating to the Barossa Prescribed Water Resources Area.

Review and amendment of the 2009 Barossa WAP

The 2009 Barossa WAP was reviewed in 2014 by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board (the board). Under the NRM Act, this review was not required until 2019 but was completed earlier due to community concerns about the suitability of its policies, as well as the need for policy in the WAP to be based on new scientific investigations undertaken since 2009.

As a result of this review, an amended Barossa WAP will be developed, in collaboration with key stakeholders and supported by the community-based Barossa Water Allocation Plan Advisory Committee (WAPAC). A summary of the review, and the full document endorsed by the board, can be found below:

The development of the draft amended Barossa WAP will focus on ensuring that the management of the water resources of the Barossa PWRA is underpinned by the best available science, as well as input from key stakeholders and the community.

Work is underway to provide the background information necessary for the development of a draft amended Barossa WAP, including investigations to determine:

  • the extent and needs of water-dependent ecosystems in the area
  • the hydro-ecological characteristics  and condition of the area
  • the capacity of the groundwater resources of the area
  • the potential socio-economic impact of proposed policies for managing water resources.

The board is committed to ensuring that the development of the draft amended Barossa WAP is done in close consultation with the Barossa community. Engagement with key stakeholders has already begun, and will continue throughout the process. There will also be consultation with the broader community, before the draft amended Barossa WAP is released for statutory public consultation.

Monitoring and reporting on water resources of the Barossa PWRA

Constant monitoring of the Barossa PWRA is undertaken by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and the Department for Environment and Water. Results of this monitoring contributes to the production of the following groundwater and surface water status reports:

Earlier groundwater and surface water status reports can be found here.

Related links

More information

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges