Water users invited to help evaluate water plans

News article |

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board is calling on water users in the Eastern and Western Mount Lofty Ranges to help evaluate the regions’ water allocation plans.

Water is a precious resource. There is a limit to how much is available for use on an ongoing basis, so it’s important to provide certainty to current and future users, particularly to those whose livelihoods depend on it.

A water allocation plan (WAP) provides that certainty. It gives consideration to the environment, social and economic needs for water, and seeks to ensure long-term sustainability and security.

What is a water allocation plan?

Water allocation plans (WAPs) ensure water resources are allocated fairly, and secures sustainable water supplies for the community, industry and the environment for future generations.

They outline sustainable use limits for water resources and provide policies for water sharing, including how much water licenced users can take and the transfer of allocations between users. They also provide a framework for setting water licence conditions.

WAPs also set out policies for water affecting activities such as the construction of wells and dams, works in watercourses, and the use of effluent and imported water.

Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu General Manager, Michael Garrod, is calling for community involvement and feedback in the process.

“The two prescribed areas of the Eastern and Western Mount Lofty Ranges cover most of our region, so it’s really important that everyone using and caring about water in that area has the opportunity to have their say in the evaluation of these plans. This includes the 3,700 groundwater and surface water licensees, tens of thousands of stock and domestic dams and bore users, First Nations, and those that care about or are involved in maintaining public water supply, social amenity, and our important biodiversity and environmental values.

“The evaluation is a twelve-month process. Right now, we are encouraging anyone who has an interest in environmental, economic, social, or First Nations water needs in the Mount Lofty Ranges to register via our website. This will ensure you hear about opportunities to provide feedback and receive information throughout the process.

“We will be looking at how effective the current WAPs have been over the past 10 years, and whether they’ll be appropriate to manage the resource over the next 10 years,” he said.

The evaluation will bring together information from scientific analysis of long-term monitoring of surface water, groundwater and ecosystems, together with economic information, input from water licence holders, First Nations, industries and the community.

“Following the evaluation, it’s likely that there will be an amendment stage, which is scheduled to commence in 2024. During this stage we will work closely with the community to build on the initial conversations started during the evaluation phase to develop suitable and sustainable solutions for future water allocation. Once draft plans have been developed there will be a formal public consultation stage, it’s a long but very important process,” said Mr Garrod.

To learn more and register your interest and be kept informed as the process develops, please visit our dedicated webpage.

Water users invited to help evaluate water plans
The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board is calling on water users in the Eastern and Western Mount Lofty Ranges to help evaluate the regions’ water allocation plans.

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