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Topics > Water > Water security

Barossa Water Security Strategy

A draft Barossa Water Security Strategy has been developed in partnership with a broad cross section of Barossa stakeholders and community members. The strategy relates to the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley. It sets out a shared vision for the future and includes strategic actions to improve water security in the Barossa out to 2050.

Consultation on the draft strategy has now closed. Once feedback has been considered, a copy of the final strategy will be made available on this page.


The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) is investing in water security planning as regions adapt to a changing climate and increasing demands for water.

Access to secure sources of water is of upmost importance to make sure that we have the water we need to support economic growth, vibrant and healthy communities and healthy ecosystems into the future.

The development of water security strategies recognises there are regions and industries where demand for water is at risk of exceeding available supplies.

As part of our approach to targeted water security planning, DEW is currently working with the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley communities to develop an integrated water security strategy to support current demand and future growth in the region.

To support the development of the strategy an assessment of the current and future water security of the Barossa was undertaken by the University of Adelaide.

What we are doing

Water security strategies aim to build on traditional water allocation planning processes (which apply to surface and groundwater resources) and link fit-for-purpose water supplies with existing and emerging water demands. The strategy development process allows new supplies, expansion of existing supplies and changing demand profiles to be considered in the context of a changing climate.

The process integrates strategic foresight and resilience-based planning. It purposefully takes a long-term view that considers the significant global, regional and local uncertainties anticipated to be faced in the future and plans for these in the context of water security.

Water security strategies aim to provide confidence to businesses and the community that there will be sufficient water supply options to support the future vision for their region, particularly in a changing climate.

Why is a water security strategy needed in Barossa?

The Barossa is a premium food, wine and agricultural region with a vibrant tourism sector and a successful grazing industry. Water availability has been key to the economic wellbeing of the region, as well as to supporting environmental, cultural and amenity values.

The Barossa has recently experienced water scarcity due to a number of consecutive dry years, with the impacts being particularly severe in the Eden Valley. Short-term measures have been put in place for irrigation and stock water, however the need for a long-term strategy around water security has been highlighted, especially in the context of a warming and drying climate.

The majority of climate projections show that the reliability of surface water and groundwater will decrease and environmental flows will decline. At the same time, irrigation water demand is expected to increase. With no action to address water security, the number of years when water demand exceeds supply is likely to be more frequent, putting current activity and a healthy environment at risk.

An opportunity exists to harness alternative water sources to underpin existing water demand and increase resilience to future drought. A long-term strategic approach has been taken to identify a suite of strategic actions, including alternative water sources, that together will support current demand and future growth out to 2050.

The process to develop a water security strategy for the Barossa is being led by DEW in partnership with PIRSA, SA Water, the Environment Protection Authority, Northern & Yorke Landscape Board, Barossa Australia, Barossa Infrastructure Limited (BIL), The Barossa Council, Light Regional Council, RDA Barossa Gawler Light and Adelaide Plains.

The process

Three workshops were held throughout 2021 to develop a shared vision for the Barossa and to consider pathways to achieve that vision under a range of future scenarios, with extensive research and analysis undertaken in between workshops.

Potential options have been assessed, including under plausible future climate scenarios, and the most robust options have been included in the draft strategy.

Barossa Water Security Strategy

Related projects

There are numerous water-focused projects also underway in the Barossa and the strategy has taken these into account. The strategy development complements existing projects and brings together the different understandings of water use and availability in the Barossa to form a robust long-term plan to meet the region's future needs.

Find out more about water projects:

Related documents

Stay informed

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