Water resources management legislation
Water resources management is currently managed under six separate acts.
Through the Water Agencies (Powers) Act 1984, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation leads water resource management in Western Australia by coordinating cross-government efforts to protect and manage water resources.
Section 9 of the Water Agencies (Powers) Act 1984 outlines the general functions of the Minister for Water, including:
- conserving, protecting and managing water resources
- assessing water resources
- planning for the use of water resources
- promoting the efficient use of water resources
- promoting the efficient provision of water services
- preparing plans for and providing advice on flood management.
The Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 (RIWI Act) provides for the regulation, management, use and protection of water resources. This Act provides for a licensing system for taking water; and a permitting system for activities that may damage, obstruct or interfere with water flow or the beds and banks of watercourses and wetlands in proclaimed rivers, surface water management areas and irrigation districts.
The objects in Section 4 of the RIWI Act include providing for the sustainable use and development of water resources, protection of their ecosystems and the environment in which water resources are situated, and assisting the integration of water resources management with other natural resources management.
The Country Areas Water Supply Act 1947 (CAWS Act) and Metropolitan Water Supply,Sewerage and Drainage Act 1909 and associated by-laws protect the state's public drinking water sources, i.e. proclaimed catchment areas, water reserves and pollution areas (underground water pollution control areas).
The clearing of vegetation is controlled under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, CAWS Act and Country Areas Water Supply (Clearing Licence) Regulations 1981 (CAWS Regs). The CAWS Act and CAWS Regulations are used to manage and prevent salinisation of water resources in the clearing control catchments. These are the Mundaring Weir, Wellington Dam, Harris River Dam and Denmark River catchment areas and the Warren River and Kent River water reserves.
Declared waterways management areas are managed under the Waterways Conservation Act 1976 (i.e. Albany waterways, Avon River, Wilson Inlet, Peel Inlet and Leschenault Inlet).
The Metropolitan Arterial Drainage Act 1982 provides for an arterial drainage scheme and the declaration of drainage courses.
The Western Australian government is currently working to reform legislation and policy to consolidate water resources management legislation into one Act