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Regulating water resources

The South Australian Government is responsible for the efficient and sustainable management of water resources across the State.

A number of agencies deliver a range of water management functions including (but not limited to):

  • water planning and management and regulation of water markets (Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and Natural Resources Management (NRM) boards)
  • rural/bulk water supply and services (SA Water)
  • water quality (Environment Protection Authority)
  • water pricing and industry regulation (Essential Services Commission of South Australia).

The South Australian Government aims to balance the demands for water for consumption, the environment and other non-consumptive uses at three broad levels:

  • management and control of water resources on behalf of all South Australians
  • prescribing water resources, granting entitlements to water and setting sustainable limits and caps on use
  • providing individual rights to water

The Natural Resources Management Act 2004 provides a framework for the sustainable and integrated management of the State’s water resources including surface water (such as dams), groundwater (such as bores) and watercourse water.

The department and regional NRM boards are the key bodies that administer water resource management provisions of the Act.

Water management frameworks are further defined through NRM planning including Regional Natural Resources Management Plans and water allocation plans for prescribed water resources.

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