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Water planning

Water planning in South Australia is comprehensive and integrated to ensure long-term security. Three distinct plans ensure the sustainable management and use of South Australia’s water resources as well as the State’s long-term water security to support our economy, lifestyle and environment.

The plans include:

Better water planning and management

DEWNR and the eight regional NRM boards have partnered to develop the first strategy and action plan for Better Water Planning and Management. The initiative aims to build upon South Australia’s existing water planning and management system by:

  • making it quicker, simpler and more pragmatic
  • increasing flexibility to respond to current and future challenges
  • strengthening the critical role of water planning and management in supporting economic growth, social wellbeing, and a healthy environment.

DEWNR and the eight regional NRM boards have been working together to improve the governance arrangements and internal processes for water planning and management. This includes the development of the Five Year Work Plan for Water Resource Management, which has improved collaboration, work scheduling and prioritisation.  While these activities provide the foundation for Better Water Planning and Management, there is a need to go beyond these improvements in internal processes.

In October 2015, DEWNR staff and NRM board members worked together to identify opportunities for improvement and reform. These ideas were grouped into twelve focus areas, and discussion papers were developed for each focus area. Key NRM partner organisations and government agencies were consulted on these discussion papers between October 2016 and February 2017. Consultation feedback has been utilised to develop the strategy and action plan.

DEWNR and the NRM boards will lead the implementation of actions identified in the strategy and action plan but achieving progress will require ongoing consultation and partnerships with a range of stakeholders.

The Five Year Work Plan for Water Resource Management provides an overview of the water planning activities across South Australia for the next five years, and is updated annually. The first work plan took effect from November 2014 and provided for the first time a common understanding of upcoming water resource management planning work across the state, including when future natural resource management planning, water allocation and licensing projects will occur. The Five Year Work Plan forms an important part of the program of improvements to water planning and management. The work plan is overseen by the Water Planning Steering Committee. 

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