Water resource plans are a key requirement of the Commonwealth Basin Plan 2012. There are 22 water resource plans required to be developed in NSW and each plan varies in the number of resources, their level of development, number of environmental assets, and geography affecting the way the rivers are run in each area.
Water resource plans will reflect the NSW arrangements in water sharing plans for sharing water for consumptive use. They will also reflect the NSW rules to meet environmental and water quality objectives and will take into account potential and emerging risks to water resources.
To meet the minimum requirements of the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 and Basin Plan, NSW water resource plans must:
- describe all water rights in the plan area
- demonstrate how compliance with the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) prescribed in the Basin Plan will be assessed and maintained
- include a Water Quality Management Plan
- provide for environmental watering
- address risks to water resources identified in a risk assessment
- explain how essential human needs will be met in extreme events
- take account of Aboriginal people’s water dependent cultural values and uses.
All of the water resource plans will also include one or more NSW water sharing plans.
The NSW Government has always advocated for a true triple-bottom-line approach to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which balances economic, environmental and socio-economic concerns, and puts local communities first.
The development of NSW water resource plans has adhered to these fundamental principles, with stakeholder and community consultation at the forefront. Targeted consultation with Stakeholder Advisory Panels (SAPs) and public exhibition was undertaken for each plan.
SAPs provided the department with stakeholder input into the planning process for WRP development. SAPs helped identify issues, examine options and provide the department with feedback and advice throughout the development of WRPs.
Stakeholder Advisory Panels were set up for each valley water resource plan area and an additional panel for the groundwater plans. The SAPs also provided feedback and advice where the regulated river Water Sharing Plans (WSPs) occurred at the same time as the development of the relevant WRPs. The stakeholder advisory panels operated under agreed terms of reference.
SAP members included representatives from NSW government agencies, water users, environmental interest groups, Aboriginal communities and local councils.
For further information refer to Water Resource Plans - Murray-Darling Basin Authority.