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Legislation, agreements and policy

Water Resources within South Australia are managed under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 (Landscape SA Act).

In areas where there are limited risks to the water resources, high-level principles in statutory regional landscape plans and specific principles to guide water affecting activities work together to protect the resources and dependent ecosystems.

Where there are greater risks to the water resources, water resources are prescribed and water allocation plans are prepared. Water allocation plans provide the framework for the taking and use of water from the resource, rules for trade and other rules to protect the resource, water dependent ecosystems and third parties. Water licences are issued to existing users when a water resource is first prescribed and these become a property right which can be traded consistent with the provisions in the water allocation plan.

The South Australian Government is responsible for sustainably managing the state’s water resources. A number of agencies deliver legislated water management functions. There are also multiple agencies and organisations that undertake water management functions across Australia.

The legislative and policy framework for water planning in South Australia includes:

National

State

Regional

Water for Good

The Water for Good plan was developed by the South Australian Government in 2009 to provide our state with the most secure water supply system in southern Australia. Its vision is that Greater Adelaide will not need water restrictions – beyond permanent water conservation measures – more than once in every 100 years. The plan outlines 94 actions we are taking to create more water and to better use the water that we do have. 

 The state's approach to water security is based on the following key priorities: 

  • Diversification of our water resources
  • Improving the way we use water
  • Modernising the water industry
  • Improving governance.

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