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United approach to Great Artesian Basin management

News article |

The SA Arid Lands Landscape Board has welcomed a revised management plan that will protect the future of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB).

Posted 18 September 2020.

The Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan was released in August, having been developed by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and partners in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The new plan, which replaces the first document developed in 2000, adds improved sustainable water resource management practices, and considers new scientific and technical knowledge and changing political contexts.

It is a framework for governments, communities and industry to manage and use the water resources of the GAB in a collaborative and judicious way. It will provide greater certainty for pastoralists, traditional owners, businesses and communities that rely on the Basin and reflects extensive public consultation undertaken during its development.

It will be delivered with seven guiding principles that include: a coordinated governance; a healthy resource; Aboriginal values, cultural heritage and community values; secure and managed access; judicious use of groundwater; information knowledge and understanding for management; and communication and education.

SA Arid Lands Landscape Board Presiding Member Ross Sawers said he was pleased the board was involved in the development of the document and it will be adopting its seven guiding principles.

“The Great Artesian Basin is the lifeblood for people in our region. We need to ensure water quality and pressure are maintained along with the health of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. It is a precious and finite resource that must be managed carefully and cooperatively,” he said.

“I look forward to the board now being involved in the delivery of this plan which will support the principles to conserve the GAB, alongside the introduction of the new Far North Prescribed Wells Area Water Allocation Plan, which we hope to finalise before the end of the year, and which espouses the same principles”

About 22 per cent of Australia’s landmass sits atop the Great Artesian Basin. It is a critical water resource for much of inland Australia’s stock, domestic, industrial and mining purposes and supports about $12.8 billion of economic production annually.

The Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan can be downloaded here.

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