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Water resource plans

The Basin Plan was agreed in 2012 and introduced new and more consistent standards for planning and managing precious water resources across the Murray-Darling Basin.

It is important that we manage our water well so that together we can enjoy access to good quality water and healthy rivers, wetlands and groundwater systems for generations to come.

Basin states must show how they are managing the water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin to meet these new standards. One of the main ways to do this is by preparing water resource plans.


What management does a water resource plan require us to demonstrate?

A water resource plan sets out how Basin states manage their water to meet the standards set out in the Basin Plan, particularly in relation to managing how much water can be taken for consumptive purposes, such as urban, agricultural and industrial use. 

A water resource plan needs to address a range of water resource management issues including: 

  • setting out how much water can be taken annually for consumptive use (urban, industrial and agricultural) in a way that meets the long-term sustainable diversion limit
  • setting out how water for the environment is managed, including supporting the Basin-wide strategy on water for the environment
  • how we plan to manage water quality and salinity
  • documenting how water will be managed during extreme events such as flood or drought
  • identifying objectives and outcomes regarding the management of water for Aboriginal people
  • setting out how interception activities, such as dams capturing run off, commercial plantations, mining and floodplain harvesting, will be managed and monitored
  • outlining the risks to the resource and strategies to address them.

South Australia’s water resource plans reflect our state arrangements and present them in a way to demonstrate how we are meeting our Basin Plan obligations. 

Water Resource Plan

Water resource plans are required under the Water Act. They are a linking document between Federal and state legislation.

It documents how the state complies with the Basin Plan.

Water Allocation Plan – State legislation

Water allocation plans are required under the NRM Act.

They set out rules for taking and using water to ensure sustainability of the resource.

Basin Plan – Federal legislation

The Basin Plan is required under the Water Act. It requires water resource plans to be developed for the whole of the Murray-Darling Basin.

More information on water resource plans across the Murray-Darling Basin 

What plans has South Australia developed to demonstrate water resource management compliance?

The Department for Environment and Water has prepared three water resource plans covering the South Australian part of the Murray-Darling Basin and these have all been accredited by the then Commonwealth Minister responsible for water, the Hon. David Littleproud MP.

South Australia’s three water resource planning areas are:

  • The South Australian River Murray – includes the surface waters and floodplain of the River Murray and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert.
  • The Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges – includes the groundwater and surface waters of the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges and the Marne Saunders Prescribed Water Resources Area. 
  • The Murray Region – includes the surface and groundwater resources of the remainder of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin and the Coorong and Murray Mouth. 


How will water resource plans affect me?

The water resource plans do not alter how people currently take and use water for their businesses or household consumption.  

Communities can continue to do their bit to help by following their local water allocation plan and water affecting activity policies

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