One of the critical factors affecting regional development in many parts of Australia is the availability of good quality water supplies. This article on water planning is a timely reminder of that fact. It explains some of the management and policy approaches adopted in NSW to improve the quality of water supplies and protect the environment.
The NSW Department of Water Resources is the state’s water management agency. Major legislation under which this role is undertaken is the Water Act 1912 -, Water Administration Act 1986, Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act 1948 -, and the Murray-Darling Basin Act 1987. The Department's main functions are to supply water to multiple uses and values and to strategically plan to meet society’s future water resource needs. These include the sharing, use and protection of water and the environment.
Key performance areas for the department are state resource planning, water sharing, water supply, environmental management, water quality and business performance. Priority areas in 1993 were clarifying its wider natural resource management role and external relationships with other agencies, promoting community and customer consultation, progressing corporatisation/privatisation of the irrigation areas and districts, maximising responsiveness to the business environment and nutrient and salinity management.