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In January 2010 a Water Control District was declared for the Northern Territory (NT) portion of the Great Artesian Basin.
In October 2010 the commencement of water allocation planning in the District was formally announced.
A draft Water Allocation Plan has been prepared for the NT Great Artesian Basin Water Control District, and released for a period of public comment which closed on 19th April 2013. The comments received will be considered before the Water Allocation Plan is finalised.
When the draft plan is finalised it will be declared by the Minister under the Water Act as a water allocation plan.
The water allocation plan will define the rules for the sharing and allocation of surface water and groundwater, including water from sources other than the Great Artesian Basin, for the next ten years.
The plan will make sure water is shared equitably between the community, the environment and other users. It will cover the whole of the district.
The Water Allocation Plan has been developed following consultation with stakeholders and the local community.
Parties involved in the community consultation process have included members of the Finke/Apatula community, pastoralists, Indigenous interests, the Department of Mines and Energy, the Macdonnell Shire and interstate water agencies and other stakeholders.
In 2010 public information sessions were held in Alice Springs and at Finke/Apatula and in 2010 and 2011 private meetings have been held with local and interstate stakeholders.
The declaration of the Water Allocation Plan will assist with sustainable management of local water resources. It will provide security for water users and define the rules which will enable regional developments that depend on groundwater to proceed in a sustainable manner.