Information and discussion about management of Whicher surface water
Released 28 Jul 2008
The Department of Water will hold an information session to provide water users and the wider community the opportunity to discuss its proposed management approach for surface water in the Whicher area of the south-west of the state.
The department South West regional manager Wayne Tingey said the August 14 meeting at Cowaramup would present the draft plan, and explain allocation limits and the licensing approach for Whicher surface water resources. A discussion session would follow, providing an opportunity for questions.
Mr Tingey said that comments by those who attend will be used to help the department finalise the draft Whicher area surface water management plan – allocation.
"Our goal is to manage the surface water resources in the best interest of the community, considering demands from regional development and the need to protect the South West's highly valued natural, social and cultural assets," Mr Tingey said.
"The plan sets out how we intend to achieve this goal, which is becoming more challenging in the context of a drying climate and increasing demand for water."
He said the plan included surface water allocation limits, identified where water was or was not available for use, and set out the policies and rules for how surface water would be managed. The plan was focused on management of self-supply water users.
"While surface water use is still relatively low in some catchments, a few catchments in the plan area are showing signs of stress due to high use.
"By acting now, we want to avoid the scenarios that have developed in the eastern states where surface water users do not have a secure supply.
"The plan addresses security of supply for current users and the environment, and sets the amount of surface water available for additional use. Licensing will become a key tool for securing access to water.
"Work is already underway to increase our understanding of resources in the area, so that surface water management can be continually improved. This includes hydrological models, regional environmental considerations, water use assessments and stakeholder advice."
Mr Tingey said a conscious decision was made to take a formal management approach now, even though there were some knowledge gaps. This lowered the risk to surface water resources in the area while investigations for the next phase of planning were underway.
He urged people to attend the information session.
"Your input to the draft plan is important. It will help us achieve the right balance between the productive use of this water and the conservation of precious natural resources."
The meeting will be held on Thursday August 14, 6 – 8pm at the Duggan pavilion, Cowaramup Oval, Bussell Highway, Cowaramup.
To RSVP for the meeting and to obtain a copy of the plan, please contact Hazen Cleary on Tel: (08) 9726 4188. The plan is also available on www.water.wa.gov.au/allocationplanning.
The public comment period closes on Friday September 19, 2008.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441