Under the Natural Resources Management Act
2004 (the Act), NRM Boards must prepare a Water Allocation Plan (WAP)
for each prescribed resource in their region, and review these plans
within five years of adoption.
Water allocation plans ensure there is an
equitable balance of water between environmental, social and economic
needs, while considering the long-term integrity of the water resource.
The Department of Environment, Water and
Natural Resources leads monitoring programs to collect data on the state
and condition of water resources at a state level and Natural Resources
Management Boards supplement these networks at a regional and local
level. Significant water users, such as SA Water and irrigators, also
contribute data. This data is used to develop water allocation plans.
There are 20 existing Water Allocation Plans in South Australia and new plans are being developed.
The current Water Allocation Planning process
is under review with a view to developing a more adaptable and flexible
The Goyder Institute for Water Research has
been established to enhance our capacity to develop science based policy
solutions to underpin the sustainable development of the State’s water
resources. Working together, the Department and the Institute will
deliver water policy outcomes through high quality research and science
and solve our key water management issues.
Water Allocation Plans
Once a resource has been prescribed, a water
allocation plan is developed by the relevant natural resources
management (NRM) board in consultation with the community, in order to
sustainably manage the resource. There are eight natural resource
management regions in South Australia.
A water allocation plan is a legally
enforceable plan that sets the sustainable water management regime for
each prescribed water resource in the region. A water allocation plan
explains how water is allocated to entitlement holders, (known as
licensed water users) and how these entitlements or allocations can be
traded. It contains policies and principles for determining the
consumptive pool, water access entitlement shares and water allocations
against environmental water requirements and provisions. It contains
policies for setting conditions on approvals for the take and use of
that water from a particular location in a particular way. A water
allocation plan also details activities that affect water that require a
permit such as drilling a bore or constructing a dam.