Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan Declared

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has released the Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan 2018-2021.

The Water Allocation Plan applies to the Western Davenport Water Control District, which covers an area of almost 24,500 square kilometres, located approximately 150 km south of Tennant Creek.

Features of the new Plan are:

·               A refined Estimated Sustainable Yield of 168,405 megalitres per year (up from 55,200 megalitres per year) including a dedicated allocation to environmental and cultural beneficial uses

·               An increase in the groundwater allocations for consumptive uses from 44,150 to 138,405  megalitres per year

·               Criteria to protect environmental and cultural values associated with groundwater‑dependent ecosystems accessing shallow groundwater resources less than 15 metres below the surface

·               Inclusion of a Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserve to provide access to water to eligible Aboriginal land holders to use for social and economic benefit.

DENR Water Planning and Engagement Director, Tim Bond, said the Plan follows a review of the previous, 2011 Plan, and thanked the Western Davenport Water Advisory Committee, general public, landholders, Traditional Owners and other key stakeholders for their input into the Plan following an extensive and thorough consultation period.

“The Plan’s purpose is to ensure that water resources are managed in a way that protects and maintains environmental and cultural values while allowing water to be sustainably used for productive beneficial uses,” Mr Bond said.

“The WAP is based on a new groundwater model that has enabled a better understanding of the groundwater systems in terms of their recharge, storage and discharge characteristics.

“This model has informed a new estimated sustainable yield, a term applied to how much water is available for water users.

“The increase in the Estimated Sustainable Yield-consumptive pool reflects a change in the approach of the amount of recharge allocated for consumptive use from 80 per cent recharge to 100 per cent.

“The new model allowed infrequent recharge events to be better understood and therefore included in calculating the Estimated Sustainable Yield.”

This Plan will remain in force until 6 December 2021 and its key objectives are to:

·                     Meet the environmental water requirements of water‑dependent ecosystems

·                     Protect Aboriginal cultural values associated with water and provide access to water resources to support local Aboriginal economic development

·                     Allocate water for future public water supply and rural stock and domestic purposes

·                     Provide equitable access to water to support ecologically sustainable regional economic development

“The achievement of the Plan’s objectives will be supported by an adaptive management approach,” Mr Bond said.

“As new scientific knowledge about the water resources and water‑dependent ecosystems is obtained or the department becomes aware of requirements for protection of cultural values, this knowledge will be used in providing advice to the Controller of Water Resources."

Go to https://denr.nt.gov.au/land-resource-management/water/water-management/water-allocation-plans/western-davenport-water-allocation-plan to download a copy of the Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan 2018-2021.

Last updated: 10 January 2019