Strategic water infrastructure reserve release (Dawson Valley Water Management Area)

Water has been made available from the Strategic Water Infrastructure Reserve in the Dawson Valley Water Management Area (Dawson Valley WMA) to allow landholders to expand or diversify irrigation activity.

The water is supporting a wide range of agricultural production, including cotton, grains and cereals, trees and small crops, with the aim of strengthening economic development and creating jobs in the region.

In 2019, 90,000 megalitres (ML) of unsupplemented water were made available for use each year for a temporary period of 3 years. Through an application process, 12 water licences were granted on 1 October 2019 with a total volume of 69,500ML per year for 3 years.

Learn more about the findings from a review of the current release (the 2019 Dawson River pilot project) of Strategic Water Infrastructure Reserve in the Dawson Valley WMA.

Submissions for a temporary water licence

Submissions are now open for temporary water licences and will close on 5pm, Friday 30 September 2022.

We're making this water available again for temporary access over the next 3 years to eligible water users along the Dawson River. Up to 90,000ML per year is reserved under the Water Plan (Fitzroy Basin) 2011 and available through temporary water licence applications.

Read the Terms of Sale (PDF, 975KB) for information on the release and submission process.

Submissions can only be made by owners of land within the area of release or a prescribed entity. A map of the area subject to this release is provided in the Terms of Sale (PDF, 975KB).

Full details on who can apply for this water and the suppporting information required are set out in the terms of sale.

Water licences will be granted to successful submitters in accordance with the terms of sale and for a period of not more than 3 years as required under the Water Act 2000.

Water will be made available for a non-negotiable fixed price.

Payment in full must be received once an offer has been made by the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water before the water licence will be issued. Submitters will have up to 30 business days to provide proof of payment from the date of offer.

Annual licence fees will apply to all licences issued and annual water charges for water taken under these licences will be charged the price per megalitre under Schedule 14 of the Water Regulation 2016.

Water licences granted under this process will expire on 30 September 2025.

There is no ability to renew, relocate, amalgamate or subdivide the water licence.

A licensee may apply to cancel their water licence, however no money is payable or refundable on the cancellation, surrender or expiry of the licence.

To make a submission for a water licence, eligible water users must:

  • complete a submission form and prepare supporting information in response to evaluation criteria as set out in the Terms of Sale
  • email their form and supporting information to no later than 5pm, Friday 30 September 2022.

Licences granted will include conditions that are designed to meet environmental flow objectives and protect existing users' access to water.

The annual volumetric limits granted will provide limits that ensure new entitlements will not compromise the reliability of existing entitlements. Flow thresholds will ensure that peak flows continue to provide ecological benefits to waterholes, floodplains, estuaries and wetlands.

Learn more about how our water planning balances the needs of water users and the local environment.

Strategic water infrastructure reserve – Dawson River pilot project 2019

In 2019, a pilot project was launched to make reserved water in the Dawson River available to landholders wanting to diversify irrigation development and cropping activity.

Altogether, 90,000 megalitres of unsupplemented water were released in 2019 for use each year for a temporary period of 3 years. Through an application process, 12 water licences were granted on 1 October 2019 with a total volume of 69,500ML per year for 3 years.

The following details are for 3-year metered water licences granted to irrigators on 1 October 2019. You can also view a map showing the location of the licences granted (PDF, 621KB).

Dawson Valley WMA location Number of 3-year water licences Nominal entitlement volume
Zone Dawson C 1 450 ML
Zone Dawson D 1 5,600 ML
Zone Dawson G 4 38,000 ML
Zone Dawson H 3 10,225 ML
Zone Dawson I 1 6,125 ML
Zone Dawson J 2 5,500 ML
Total 12 65,900 ML

Through consultation with water licence holders and other key stakeholders, the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW) completed a review of the pilot project (PDF, 1.2MB) to understand outcomes and impacts and help inform future decisions on this reserved water.

Key outcomes for the Dawson Valley Water Management Area were:

  • average unsupplemented water use increased by 17%
  • average supplemented water use increased by 5%
  • area of irrigated cropping land expanded by 1,900ha
  • cropping frequency increased
  • employment and investment increased
  • permanent trades of unsupplemented water decreased by 78%
  • volume of unsupplemented water being permanently traded decreased by 47%.

Contact us

Email to discuss this release or for assistance with the application process.

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