Barossa Water Allocation Plan
The Water Allocation Plan (WAP) for the Barossa Prescribed Water Resources Area (PWRA) was adopted in 2009.
The WAP aims to:
- protect the resource for all water users and water dependent ecosystems, now and into the future
- provide greater certainty for water users.
The WAP was developed by the former Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board in collaboration with key stakeholders and is now under amendment.
- Read about the process of amending the Barossa WAP
- Find out more information about what a WAP is and why they are important.
- Read Your Guide to Understanding the Barossa PWRA Water Allocation Plan.
Current WAP amendment
An amendment of the Barossa Water Allocation Plan is in progress and the surface water and groundwater resources of the Barossa Prescribed Water Resources Area are being investigated. Modelling has provided information about the current and future availability of water, the impacts of different levels of extraction, and the effects of climate change on local water resources.
While the current level of use of surface water and groundwater resources are within the total volume of water allocated, there are increasing risks to water-dependent ecosystems, amenity and availability of water for extraction. There is a particular risk if there are significant increases in use.
Recent data analysis has shown declining trends in stream flow, as previously predicted. In many cases, these are more severe than anticipated.
A workshop to capture the community's views was held on 22 November 2022. Here are the four presentations:
- Overview of the ecology of the aquatic ecosystems of Barossa PWRA by Doug Green, Senior Ecologist, DEW Science, Evaluation and Reporting Team
- Barossa PWRA: Groundwater processes & status of the resources by DEW's Steve Barnett, Principal Hydrogeologist Darren Alcoe, Manager Groundwater Assessments and Reporting
- Barossa WAP Review - Science Investigations: Changing(ed?) climate and implications to water planning in the Barossa PWRA by DEW Water Science & Monitoring Team, Kumar Savadamuthu, Principal Hydrologist Kumar Savadamuthu, Principal Hydrologist and Daniel McCullough, Senior Hydrologist
- Unbundling water licenses by Jennifer Munro, Planning Officer, Northern and Yorke Landscape Board
Progress to date
Throughout 2020 to 2022 there have been ongoing discussions on appropriate policy settings for an amended Plan involving the Board, the community-based Water Allocation Planning Advisory Group and the Department for Environment and Water. Targeted engagement with the Ngadjuri, Peramangk and Kaurna First Nations people has occurred to incorporate Aboriginal water interests into the Plan for the first time. A draft amended Plan is currently on track for completion in 2023 with formal consultation planned to begin in early 2024. This consultation process will extend for at least 2 months. Subscribe to our Yakka e-newsletter to keep up-to-date on the process.
The Board has engaged with the community and stakeholders on the objectives of the amended draft Plan, the outcomes of the science undertaken and potential management options. This has included:
- An in-person, open forum held at The Barossa Cellar conference centre in November 2022
- An online webinar in January 2023, with presentations available above
- YourSAy webpage with reference material and an online survey – January to April 2023
- Sharing information via stakeholder networks such as local government, Regional Development Australia, Barossa Australia, Barossa Improved Grazing Group and Primary Producers SA
- Engagement activities with the three First Nations involved, including discussing the content and details of the inaugural First Nations Heritage Water chapter and the agreed cultural values and objectives to be incorporated.
The following information sheets were developed to help the community and stakeholders contribute to the consultation process:
- Introduction and background
- How a water allocation plan can manage water resources - unbundled water rights
- 2019-2020 surface water and groundwater status overview
- Barossa ecological summary 2022
- Issues and management options: The options presented in this information sheet were discussed at the January 2023 webinar
Other water projects underway
The amended Plan is being developed in the context of the broader Barossa Water Security Strategy currently under development (Department for Environment and Water - Barossa Water Security Strategy) and related water projects.
The Barossa Water Security Strategy includes actions to achieve a water secure future, such as increasing the volume of imported water available to the region, demand management measures, modification of dams to increase flows through catchments, and other complementary actions.
Investigations are currently underway around bringing additional volumes of imported water into Barossa via the Barossa New Water Project, either from the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant, or via the River Murray through the Mannum-Adelaide pipeline. Additional water could help take pressure off the local water resources.