Developing water plans

Stages of the development process

The development process generally includes the following stages:

  • technical assessments (environmental, economic, social, hydrologic and cultural)
  • preliminary public 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

The best available 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 and represent a range of development, management strategy and climate impact scenarios
  • 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 water use information. 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. You can also explore the various ways we use science in water planning using our interactive storymap.

The Queensland’s water plans in a variable and changing climate report provides an overview of climate change modelling for water planning and climate change projections for individual plan areas.

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

If additional water is available for future use in a water plan area, the water plan will provide for unallocated water reserves. These reserves will be further specified in water management protocol for the water plan area. The available water can be granted through water licences and in some cases tradeable water allocations.

Also consider...