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Unallocated water

Unallocated water is reserved under water planning instruments and can be made available for future consumptive use without compromising the security of existing users or the environmental values within a catchment. Releasing reserves of unallocated water will encourage economic growth and development in Queensland. 

Queensland currently has 1.3 million megalitres of unallocated water held as general reserve in catchments right across Queensland.

For information on unallocated water in your area, contact the department's business centre in the relevant water resource plan area.

Water for Queensland map

The water for Queensland map displays the unallocated water general reserve volumes of surface and sub-artesian water that is available in each catchment or management area across Queensland. The map also shows the unallocated water general reserve volumes of artesian water available in management areas of the Great Artesian Basin.

Register of interest closed

The register of interest process closed on Friday 17 October 2014.

The information provided through the register of interest process will assist the Department to identify the level of demand for an unallocated water release and develop a priority program for future unallocated water releases.

Current unallocated water releases

There are no unallocated water release processes occurring at this time.

Completed unallocated water releases

Whitsunday plan area: general reserve

On 18 June 2014, the Chief Executive of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines started a process to release water from the general reserves of unallocated water in the Kelsey Creek-Lethe Brook, Thompson Creek, O'Connell River and Andromache River subcatchment areas of the Water Resource (Whitsunday) Plan 2010.

This tender process has been completed. No water licences were granted.

The department is currently preparing a report summarising the outcomes of the tender process.

Baffle Creek Basin: general reserve

On 21 June 2013, the Chief Executive of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines started a process to release unallocated water from the general reserves of unallocated water in the Litabella Creek, Baffle Creek, Broadwater Creek, Eurimbula Creek, and Worthington Creek catchment areas of the Water Resource (Baffle Creek Basin) Plan 2010 area.

This tender process has been completed. Water licences have been granted to successful tenderers.

The department has prepared a report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 2.1MB) of the tender process. This report has been reviewed and endorsed by the probity auditor overseeing the tender process.

Great Artesian Basin: general reserve

On 30 May 2013, the Chief Executive of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines started a process to release unallocated water from the general reserves of unallocated water in the Surat, Surat North and Surat East management areas of the Water Resource (Great Artesian Basin) Plan 2006.

This tender process has been completed. Water licences have been granted to successful tenderers.

The department has prepared a report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 1.3MB) of the tender process. This report has been reviewed and endorsed by the probity auditor overseeing the tender process.

Gulf plan area: strategic reserve

On 22 November 2013, the Chief Executive of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines started a process to release unallocated water held as Strategic Reserve in the Gilbert, Flinders, Norman and Nicholson river catchment areas held under the Water Resource (Gulf) Plan 2007 for town water supply purposes.

The process is now complete with four licenses granted to local governments for town water supply purposes.

Gulf plan area: general reserve

On 26 July 2012, the Chief Executive of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines started a process to release unallocated water from the general reserves of the Flinders and Gilbert river catchments of the Water Resource (Gulf) Plan 2007 area.

This tender process has been completed. Water licences have been granted to successful tenderers.

The department has prepared a report summarising the outcomes of the tender process (PDF, 2.1MB). This report has been reviewed and endorsed by the probity auditor overseeing the tender process.

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Last updated: 24 October 2014

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is an economic development agency that enables the productive and responsible use of our natural resources – water, land, mineral and energy resources – to generate wealth and prosperity for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

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Department of Natural Resources and Mines
61 Mary Street, Brisbane, Queensland 4000
13 QGOV (13 74 68) business hours
Visit the contact us page for specific enquires