Tools for water planning: lessons, gaps and adoption

8 Feb 2011

This report presents the results of a project worked in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory to develop and trial 'water planning tools' that can be adapted to suit a range of conditions and that will enable better planning and management of Australia's water resources.

Tools were selected for trial to address the main issues and gaps identified as impacting on the planning process.

These gaps and challenges included:

  • addressing the overallocation of water resources to achieve ecological sustainability
  • improving community engagement
  • building community confidence in the planning process
  • improving the transparency of trade-offs in decision-making
  • providing better and more explicit mechanisms to include indigenous interests in water planning
  • dealing with uncertainty and change, including climate change
  • improving risk and impact assessment, including socio-economic assessment
  • better recognising connectivity between surface water and groundwater in water plans
  • aligning water allocation planning with natural resource management and urban water supply planning.

Pilot regions were selected on the basis that they were likely to encounter some of the priority challenges identified. The three pilot regions were the prescribed River Murray in South Australia (SA River Murray), the Central Condamine Alluvium in Queensland (the Condamine), and the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory.

Authored by Poh-Ling Tan, Carla Mooney, Ian White, Suzanne Hoverman, John Mackenzie, Kristal Burry, Claudia Baldwin, Kathleen Bowmer, Sue Jackson, Margaret Ayre and David George.

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