Mount Lofty Ranges Water Allocation Plan Consultation

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board is currently evaluating the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges (EMLR) and Western Mount Lofty Ranges (WMLR) Water Allocation Plans. In 2023, the evaluation focused on sharing information and providing opportunities to hear from our community. The conversations we had during this phase have set the direction for the amendment process commencing in 2024.

So far, we have undertaken a survey of water users and the community, and also held six drop-in sessions throughout the region over three weeks, with 130 people attending. These Water Allocation Plan Evaluation sessions were run at Mount Compass Memorial Hall (21 August), Inman Valley Community and Memory Hall (24 August), Macclesfield Institute (29 August), Woodside Hall (1 September), Gumeracha Town Hall (6 September) and Mount Barker Town Hall(8 September).

The aim of these drop-in sessions was to listen to the community’s feedback on the current Water Allocation Plans, and engage in meaningful conversations around your experiences.

Feedback from the sessions

During these drop-in sessions, we listened to lots of valuable feedback from community members, and a number of concerns and questions were raised, including:

  • Many water users wanted to know how the evaluation and amendment process might affect allocations or access to stock and domestic water.
  • Monitoring data for rainfall, streamflow, groundwater and ecosystem trends was shared at the sessions and many would like to see this information made more accessible.
  • We heard about on-farm water efficiency practices being implemented by wine grape growers, dairy farmers, berry farmers, orchardists and others.
  • There were mixed views on stock and domestic water use, and particularly how it could be managed in future (for example, whether it should or shouldn’t be metered).
  • Currently, there is a moratorium in place restricting the construction of any new dams and a reservation on any new water allocations across both regions. We heard how this has impacted some businesses and farms.
  • Trading and transferring of water allocations is allowed under the current rules, but many felt information about this could be more accessible.
  • We heard how land uses and management practices are changing across the region, with potential impacts on the way water is used and managed.

Survey update

Our survey which closed on September 30 collected community feedback and views on how water resources are managed now, and where future efforts should be focussed. The responses from this survey are being collated and the results will be shared soon.

Next steps

All of these conversations will help inform focus areas for the amendment process, which commences next year. As the amendment phase progresses, there will be more opportunities for community members to be part of the process.

Our Catchment Summaries show the current status of water resources in your area, including rainfall, water resources, allocation and usage, and environmental trends for each catchment area.