Water resource planning ensures the State's water resources are sensibly and responsibly allocated across environmental, social and economic needs.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) Boards are responsible for the development of water allocation plans. These plans cover various water sources including catchments, groundwater, stormwater and recycled water. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) has responsibility for the administration of authorisations, issuing water access entitlements and allocations (licensing), trade, works and site use approvals and compliance activities. The Department and NRM Boards work closely together to ensure appropriate management of water resources.

Water allocation planning focuses on highly valued water resources that have been prescribed under South Australia's Natural Resources Management Act 2004 to protect their integrity and the beneficial uses they support. Through this process, the community, industry and government make key decisions to manage the State's water resources and to form part of an integrated system of management. Water allocation plans also take into account policies and plans at national, state and regional levels.

The DEWNR applies a lens of reform to its water planning and management activities in order to achieve balanced and efficient management of our most precious resource - water.