Water resource plans - frequently asked questions

What area do the water resource plans cover?

South Australia is required under the Basin Plan to prepare three water resource plans.  

The three planning areas are:

  • River Murray water resource plan area
    • Consisting of the prescribed surface water resources of the River Murray, and lies entirely within the SA Murray-Darling Basin NRM region.
  • Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges water resource plan area
    • Consisting of the prescribed surface water and groundwater resources of the Marne Saunders and Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges and lies entirely within the SA Murray-Darling Basin NRM region. 
  • South Australian Murray Region water resource plan area
    • Consisting of the surface water and groundwater in all other parts of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, including the Coorong. This water resource plan area extends into the SA Arid Lands and South East NRM regions, as well as covering most of the SA Murray-Darling Basin NRM region

View a map of the water resource plan areas. 

When will plans be in place and water management in South Australia be compliant with the Basin Plan?

All the states of the Murray-Darling Basin are required to have their Basin Plan compliant water resource plans accredited by 30 June 2019. In order to manage workload South Australia has chosen to develop its water resource plans in a staggered sequence with the three water resource plans scheduled for accreditation by the following dates:

  • South Australian Murray Region - December 2017
  • Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges - October 2018
  • South Australian River Murray - 30 June 2019

What happens to existing water allocation plans, entitlements and allocations as a result of the Basin Plan requirements for water resource plans?

The purpose of a water resource plan is to demonstrate that the water management arrangements for a particular area comply with a set of standards set out in the Basin Plan. Existing water allocation plans are an important component of those water management arrangements and water resources will continue to be managed under state based arrangements, including water allocation plans, entitlements and allocations.

Many of the standards have already been met by South Australia’s existing water management arrangements, however in some cases changes to water allocation plans may be required to meet Basin Plan standards. Where changes to water allocation plans are required, the usual community consultation processes under South Australia’s NRM Act apply.

Will the current review and amendment of the River Murray water allocation plan make it Basin Plan compliant?

The review and amendment process currently underway for the water allocation plan for the River Murray prescribed watercourse (River Murray WAP) will not address all of the Basin Plan water resource plan accreditation requirements. The River Murray is a complex and important river system and it will take time to properly develop and consult on Basin Plan compliant arrangements for this water resource.  

As work was already well underway with the current review and amendment for the River Murray WAP, and to avoid delay of that amendment process under the NRM Act, the South Australian Government will work with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to identify what additional work will be necessary to meet accreditation requirements by 2019. The additional work will be captured in a new review and amendment process for the River Murray WAP closer to 2019 to bring in the required changes for a compliant water resource plan.

How can I get involved?

In most cases, you will be able to get involved in water planning through existing engagement and consultation processes for water planning and management, for example through engagement in regional NRM planning and water allocation planning processes.

If you have questions about engagement in water planning, contact the Community Engagement Officer in your NRM region.

How are the objectives of Aboriginal people addressed?

The Basin Plan has specific requirements on the engagement with Aboriginal peoples and the identification of Indigenous objectives and desired outcomes in relation to water resource management. These requirements will be met by involving Aboriginal peoples in the development and implementation of the water resource plans. Where possible, existing engagement strategies and networks with regional and central DEWNR staff will be used.

If you have questions about Aboriginal engagement for water resource plans, contact the Aboriginal Partnerships Officer in your NRM region.

Where can I get more information?

More information regarding the Basin Plan and water resource plan requirements can be found on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Basin Plan website and in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan: South Australian Implementation Strategy 2013-2019.
Feedback and queries can also be provided via the feedback form
For media enquiries relating to Basin Plan matters, please contact the DEWNR media team.