Consultation opens for the revised Far North Water Allocation Plan

Posted 14 November 2019.

Residents of the Far North Prescribed Wells Area are invited to comment on the draft of a revised Water Allocation Plan that has been released for consultation today.

The Water Allocation Plan (WAP) is designed to protect and sustainably manage the area's water resources to provide security for all users now and into the future. It sets the rules by which the available groundwater is shared between environmental requirements and human uses and sets up licensing arrangements that provide an entitlement to the water.

The current WAP has been in place since 2009 and the new draft WAP will guide the use of the region’s groundwater for the next 10 years.

To open the consultation period, community information sessions will be held at Coober Pedy Golf Club on 22 November and at the Marree Hotel on 23 November. Additional consultation meetings will be held in Adelaide, Marree, Coober Pedy and Innamincka in February and March 2020. Full details of those meetings will be advertised on social media, local newspapers and the Board’s website early in 2020.

The consultation period for the draft WAP is open until 31 March 2020 and submissions need to be received by this date.

The main alterations in the draft WAP include:

  • Further acknowledgement of Aboriginal water interests;
  • A variation of domestic allocations to 1.5ML, to better reflect the use for this purpose and remaining entitlements to be for amenity purposes such as gardens and wetlands;
  • The removal of purpose based allocation rules in favour of broad consumptive pools;
  • Protection of significant groundwater dependent ecosystems beyond the springs;
  • The removal of a volumetric cap on the water which can be used for any purpose in the FNPWA; and
  • Improved water use efficiency through reuse or re-injection of co-produced water, unless it is deemed not reasonably practical.

Regional NRM Manager for SA Arid Lands, Jodie Gregg-Smith, said that while the Board understands that licensees and those with an interest in the management of this precious resource are currently experiencing changes and challenges on a range of issues, this draft Water Allocation Plan is essential to secure groundwater resources for the future.

Ms Gregg-Smith said the Board has committed three years of work into the development of the draft plan, which has included the input of key stakeholders and licensees from across the Far North Prescribed Wells Area.

Input will be sought from stakeholders throughout the consultation period, with ongoing collaboration between in the Board and industry groups, community, and particularly Traditional Owner groups also guiding the implementation of the plan once it is adopted.

"The Board is pleased the draft WAP is now available for community consultation and is encouraging all stakeholders to comment on the draft plan both formally through submissions and also at consultation sessions or by contacting the Board.”

Visit the SAAL NRM Board website to download a copy of the draft WAP, fact sheets and frequently asked questions (FAQs) at https://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/aridlands/water/water-allocation-plan/Draft_Far_North_Prescribed_Wells_Area_Water_Allocation_Plan_2019-2029 To request a printed copy of the draft plan, contact the Natural Resources Centre in Port Augusta on 8648 5300.

More information