A review of the science under-pinning reductions in the Lower Limestone Coast’s Water Allocation Plan (WAP) will result in changes to the reductions to water allocations set out in the plan.
The State Government put a hold on the 2018 reductions and asked the South East Natural Resources Management Board to further assess the science and potential risks to the region’s groundwater resources.
The Minister for Environment and Water has now considered the Board’s recommendations and will implement the following strategy, which is based on sound scientific evidence and the needs of licensed water holders:
- 53 management areas that remain at low or medium risk will not undergo reductions
- Reductions to allocations for forests harvested in 2017 in Coles, Short and 3A, will be completed (although this will first require an amendment to NRM regulations)
- 5 management areas (Short, Frances, Hynam East, Zone 3A and Zone 5A), where the risk has decreased, will not undergo the reductions scheduled for 2018
- Reductions to forestry and irrigation licences in the Coles management area will continue until the allocation limit in the plan is reached.
Although the level of risk in the MacDonnell and Joanna management areas has changed to high, reductions will not be implemented at this time, and discussions will be held with licensees in these areas to determine how to best manage risks.
Previous reductions to allocations made in 2016 will not be returned as part of this process – this is a precautionary measure while further technical work is carried out over the next three years.
Affected licensees will be provided further details in a letter from the Department for Environment and Water (DEW).
The South East NRM Board and DEW will meet with affected licensees in February to discuss the strategy and how it affects them.