About water allocation planning

The Northern Territory Government is committed to the long term sustainable management of its water resources

The Northern Territory Water Act 1992, allows for effective water resource management through the development and implementation of Water Allocation Plans which cover specific regions within designated Water Control Districts. Water Allocation Plans are developed through technical and scientific assessments, and extensive community participation and consultation.

Water Allocation Plans aim to protect the environment and equitably share the available water between users, to ensure the long term sustainability of the water resource. Plans are developed in regions where there are competing demands for water, there is risk from water use on significant environmental or cultural values, or a need to manage the whole system (surface water and groundwater reserves) due to their significant inter-connection.

A Water Allocation Plan includes the following:

  • a description of the water resource and its characteristics
  • rationale about the need for the plan, its legal basis and effect
  • clear purpose, objectives, outcomes, strategies and performance indicators
  • explanation of historic, current and projected demand on the water resources
  • identifying the water requirements to sustain key environmental and cultural assets
  • determination of the Estimated Sustainable Yield and allocation of water to Beneficial Uses
  • determination of the strategic Aboriginal water reserve and eligible land
  • a description of the risks and uncertainties and their adaptive management
  • information to guide decisions about licences and permits
  • monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements.

Community involvement is integral to the water planning process. At the commencement of a water allocation planning process, a community advisory committee is usually established.

Developing the draft Plan can take several years. Draft Plans are released for public comment and submissions before being finalised and implemented. A finalised Water Allocation Plan applies for up to 10 years and is reviewed at least every five years. The review process provides an opportunity to assess progress and fine tune the Plan based on new information gained through its monitoring program. The Water Act allows for the declaration of Water Allocation Plans within Water Control Districts, ensuring water is equitably managed to preserve quality of life and the integrity of the water dependent ecosystems in the region to view the map of NT Water Control Districts

Water Allocation Plans are being developed on a priority basis in areas where there are competing demands for human consumptive needs and/or where natural aquatic ecosystems have significant ecological or social values to view the map of WAP areas.

Below is the current status of NT Water Allocation Plans in the Northern Territory:

Water Allocation PlanStatus
Ti-Tree Water Allocation Plan Declared 2020
Katherine Tindall Limestone Aquifer Water Allocation plan Declared 2019
Oolloo Dolostone Aquifer Water Allocation Plan Declared 2019
Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan Declared 2018
Alice Springs Water Allocation Plan Declared 2016
Berry Springs Water Allocation Plan Declared 2016
Great Artesian Basin Water Allocation Plan New Plan under development
Mataranka Tindall Limestone Aquifer Water Allocation Plan New Plan under development
Howard Water Allocation Plan New Plan under development

Last updated: 19 February 2020

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