The Minister for Water, the Hon Terry Redman MLA, and the Department of Water today launched a position paper on reforming water resource management (DoW Position Paper).

A link to the DoW Position Paper can be found by clicking here

The DoW Position Paper outlines the State government’s proposals on how to consolidate and streamline law and policy relating to the use and management of the State’s water resources whilst delivering certainty to water users.

In particular, it recognises the need for ‘new legislative tools’ to increase options to adequately respond to existing and future challenges and the changing needs of water users and the environment and proposes a new framework to govern the way that water resources are planned, allocated, managed and regulated.

Some of the key proposals include:

  • Improving licensing by simplifying the assessment criteria for licensing, trades and transfers and introducing longer licence tenure (for example, 40 years to match the life of a mining project of a pastoral lease);
  • Introducing statutory allocation limits and statutory water allocation plans to govern perpetual water access entitlements (a share of water from a consumptive pool) and abstractions arrangements;
  • Introducing a new framework for unallocated water to be granted by various mechanisms, including first-in-first served, competitive submission, market mechanisms or other suitable means which will vary depending on the area of the resource, the level of demand and community and industry requirements; and
  • Consolidating existing provisions to make it explicit that provision is to be made for environmental water in water resources management, where appropriate.

The launch of the DoW Position Paper kicks off a 3 month public consultation period – with submissions closing on 31 December 2013. Following this consultation process the DoW will prepare a responsive paper to the State government to feed into the drafting of the Water Resources Management Bill. At this stage, the Minister for Water expects to introduce the Bill into Parliament in Autumn 2014.