Developing water plans

Stages of the development process

The development process generally includes the following stages:

  • technical assessments (environmental, economic, social, hydrologic and cultural data)
  • preliminary stakeholder consultation
  • preparation of a draft water plan
  • publication of draft plan and opportunity for public submissions
  • consideration of submissions
  • finalisation and approval of water plan.

Technical assessments

Science underpins the development of water plans. These technical assessments include:

  • environmental assessments: ecological modelling using data collected on the flow requirements of ecosystems
  • hydrologic assessments: models which draw on over 100 years of recorded flow data
  • social, economic and cultural assessments: identification of water related social, economic and cultural values.

Water plans consider both historical rainfall and run-off information and this helps us better understand and manage risks to water security, communities, and the environment. Strategies for managing climate-related risks may be included in water plans.

Collectively the assessments are important in determining the amount and type of water available so the water can be shared sustainably.

The Water planning science plan 2020–2030 explains how we use science to develop water plans and improve water planning.

Community input

We consult with a range of interested people including:

  • regional communities
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups
  • conservation groups
  • industry
  • local government.

You should check your water plan area for any upcoming consultation.

Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples

From October 2018, new or replacement water plans will explicitly recognise the importance of water resources for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Cultural outcomes will be stated separately instead of being embedded in social, economic or environmental outcomes, and water plans will need to include strategies for their achievement, monitoring and reporting.

How water is made available

The available water can be granted through water licences and tradeable water allocations. A certain amount of water is reserved as unallocated water.

The diagram below shows the overall proportions of this water across the state.

Water across the state

Pie chart showing allocation of water between unallocated water, tradeable water allocations and water licences.

Also consider...