Far North Prescribed Wells Area Water Allocation Plan

In the SA Arid Lands region, the only prescribed water resource is the Far North Prescribed Wells Area which was prescribed on the 27 March 2003 and covers all wells drilled into the aquifers of the Far North, including the South Australian Portion of the Great Artesian Basin and any other ground water aquifers that are accessed.

Prescription occurred in response to increasing pressure on the water resources, often being the only reliable source for a range of activities, and recognition for the need to eliminate wasteful practices to ensure the security and future of the water resources for all water users.

The WAP was adopted on 28 February 2021.

The adoption of the Plan has been supported by a review and consultation process that has considered the updated science and emerging issues since the adoption of the original plan in 2009. The Plan has been prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Landscape South Australia Act 2019. The Plan has been developed using the Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan (GABSMP) as a guiding document. As such, the objectives and principles within the Plan are consistent with the guiding principles of the GABSMP, particularly regarding the judicious use of water.

The plan aims to achieve the following:

  • Protect the resource for all water users now and into the future
  • Provide greater certainty for water users
  • Ensure that the taking of water for licensed purposes is undertaken in a manner that provides for the long-term viability of the water resource.
  • Support Aboriginal people’s water interests through the provision of access to the water resource.
  • Recognise and incorporate the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal people in the management of the take and use of water from the groundwater resource.
  • Ensure the placement of a well will not damage, disturb or interfere with any site of cultural significance.
  • Authorise the taking of water, for equitable economic and social development within resource management limits and sustainable environmental limits.
  • Ensure that the authorised taking of water does not unacceptably impact upon:
    • the ability of current licence holders to access groundwater,
    • the water resources (adjacent, underlying, or overlying water resources), and
    • GAB springs and refuge non-spring groundwater dependent ecosystems.

The plan was developed by the former SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board in collaboration with key stakeholders. Groundwater users and others with an interest in the management of South Australia’s portion of the Great Artesian Basin had an opportunity to contribute to the statutory review of the WAP and provide feedback to inform the design and update of the 2009 Plan.

The Plan has been developed in response to community and stakeholder feedback and accounts for new scientific knowledge about the Great Artesian Basin function and increasing industry demands on the resource. The SA Arid Lands landscape Board now carries the statutory function to develop and review water allocation plans for the South Australian arid lands region

To find out more information about the Consultation refer to the Consultation Report or the WAP Guide .

For more information on water licensing including understanding your new water management authorisations contact DEW Water Licensing on (08) 8463 6876 or go to the Department for Environment and Water website

Applying for a permit or licence

Find out about licences and permits for WAPs in the SA Arid Lands region.

Other information

Surface Water

There are no prescribed surface water resources within the region, the Water Affecting Activity Control Policy sets out the activities that can be undertaken for any non prescribed resource within the region.

More information