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Water Allocation Plan for Berry Springs
The Northern Territory Government is committed to the long term sustainable management of its water resources. The Berry Springs Water Allocation Plan has been developed in accordance with the Water Act 1992 (the Act) and applies to an area of 105 km² within the Darwin Rural Water Control District, enclosing the Berry Springs Dolostone Aquifer System.
The Plan will operate for ten years and will be reviewed no more than five years from commencement.
The reviews will be informed by the monitoring program, relevant new scientific research findings on potential impacts on natural spring flows and advances in modelling of the connected surface water and groundwater resources in the plan area, and will informed by full community consultation.
The Berry Springs Water Allocation Plan provides a management framework for sustainably sharing water between human and environmental needs.
Berry Springs is a small semi-rural area about 50km south of Darwin and is a well known tourist destination for visitors to the Territory Wildlife Park and the Berry Springs Nature Reserve, which includes part of the Berry Creek catchment.
The Berry Springs water planning area is over 90 square kilometres and includes Berry Springs, and part of Darwin River and Berry Creek. The Larrakia and Kungarakan people are the traditional owners of the lands in the planning area.
Berry Springs has a population of approximately 650 people. Almost all water supplies are drawn from the Berry Springs Dolostone Aquifer. The aquifer naturally discharges via Parson Springs, Twin River Farm Springs and Berry Springs.
Water from the Berry Springs Aquifer is mostly consumed and used as drinking water for many rural landholders. It is also used for the main economic activities in the area, which include tourism, irrigated horticulture, particularly for food crops and cut flowers, and aquaculture.
The Darwin Rural Water Control District was first declared in 1992, and the Berry Springs water planning area is part of this Water Control District.
The development of a Water Allocation Plan (WAP) for Berry Springs involved consultation with stakeholders and the local community, including the Berry Springs Water Advisory Committee.
Water allocation will assist the sustainable management of the Berry Springs Dolostone Aquifer. It will provide security for water users and define the rules which will enable developments that depend on groundwater to proceed in a sustainable manner.
More background information about the planning area and the planning process is available in the Berry Springs Situation Analysis Report.
A WAP was needed for the resource to be managed properly, to measure the amount of water being used by all users including the environment and make sure that the resource is protected from overuse.
The WAP will benefit you by securing future water supplies for both consumptive users, such as irrigators, and rural stock and domestic use as well as the non-consumptive uses such as the protection of environmental and cultural assets, including the Berry Springs Nature Park.
The springs will attract particular consideration in the planning as one of the WAP's aims is to protect water needs for water dependent ecosystems.
Strategies will be developed to achieve these objectives and may include monitoring programs to assess the plan's performance. The plan will establish rules for water licensing, overall management of the resource, water trading and protection of environmental and cultural uses of water.
The plan was developed with the community through public and private meetings, from comments and submission on key issues, knowledge gaps and a public comment period on the draft WAP.
It also involved extensive consultation with the Berry Springs Water Advisory Committee, who represent key stakeholder interests in the planning area.
Water trading and development
The WAP provides for water trading as is needed by the National Water Initiative.
If you are applying for access to the resource for a development, you will get entitlements to allow the ongoing development of your enterprises.
Licences will not be given where the requested amount exceeds sustainable yield of the aquifer or where serious objections have been made during the advertisement of the licensing that need more investigation.