New ways to manage high use resources
As the number of licenses in a water resource increases and the resource approaches full allocation more sophisticated management methods are required.
Benefits of reform
The reforms will enable us to use a wider range of approaches for better managing our water resources. These will allow us to:
- set statutory allocation limits to keep water allocation within sustainable limits
- set the rules where water users more efficiently manage the risk of a reduction in available water due to climate and natural events
- allow assessment of licence applications only where water is available
- allow release of available water in high demand areas by competitive market processes
- enable water allocations to be varied according to seasonal availability, and
- support the development of statutory water allocation plans in high use areas.
Statutory water allocation plans
In areas where there is competition for water, statutory water allocation plans will be developed in consultation with the community.These plans:
- will legally define how much water is available and clarify the way water is shared amongst users.
- may establish water access entitlements to improve security of supply with a bankable asset and formalised trading rules so water can more easily move to higher value uses
- will set legal allocation limits to keep water abstraction within sustainable limits
- may require users to measure water use to enable monitoring of the amount of water taken
- will set binding rules for bringing water use back into sustainable levels of take where a resource is over-allocated
- will provide mechanisms to protect the environment.
Sound water management means water users have greater security, increased investment capacity and can maximise water use for growth.