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McLaren Vale Water Allocation Plan

The McLaren Vale Water Allocation Plan (WAP) manages the use of groundwater in the McLaren Vale prescribed wells area (PWA). The surface water of the area is managed under the Western Mt Lofty Ranges WAP. The McLaren Vale PWA covers approximately 320 square kilometres, with the Onkaparinga River forming part of the northern boundary, while much of the south-eastern boundary follows the ridge of the Sellicks Range.

In the 2019-20 water use year there were 468 water licences in the McLaren Vale PWA with a total allocation of 6,488 ML making up 0.24% of SA’s total water allocations. Actual use of licenced groundwater was around 5,000 ML, and currently the Willunga Basin Water Scheme (using recycled wastewater from the Christies Beach water treatment plant) provides an additional 7,120 ML/year.

Grapevines make up 96% of the gross value of irrigated agriculture in the area.

Map of the McLaren Vale PWA

The WAP aims to:

  • protect the resource for all water users, now and into the future
  • provide greater certainty for water users.

    The WAP achieves this by:

  • identifying the amount of groundwater that can be allocated and extracted per year
  • defining criteria for the development of aquifer storage and recovery schemes
  • providing water for groundwater-dependent ecosystems within the prescribed area.

The McLaren Vale WAP was developed by the former Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board in collaboration with key stakeholders and supported by the community-based McLaren Vale WAP Advisory Committee. The McLaren Vale WAP was adopted in 2007, replacing the WAP adopted in 2000. A review of the McLaren Vale Prescribed Wells Area Water Allocation Plan was conducted in 2011 without subsequent amendment.

The Landscape South Australia Act 2019 requires that existing WAPs to be reviewed at least every 10 years to ensure they are still meeting the needs of the environment and community. The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board is currently reviewing the McLaren Vale WAP.

Find out more information about the McLaren Vale WAP Review

Find out more information about what a WAP is and why they are important.

Find out about permits and licences relating to this WAP.

Monitoring and reporting on water resources of the McLaren Vale PWA

Ongoing monitoring of the McLaren Vale PWA is undertaken by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board and the Department for Environment and Water. Results of this monitoring contributes to the production of groundwater status reports and will inform the review of the McLaren Vale WAP.

Related documents

More information

Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board

(08) 8391 7500