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Cape York

Map of the catchment

Water plan

Cape York is the last region in Queensland to commence a water planning process. While the level of water resource development in Cape York is relatively low compared to other parts of the state, a robust water allocation and management framework is needed to balance the needs of agriculture, mining, industry and town water supplies with environmental, social and indigenous water needs.

A statutory water plan for Cape York will cover the 15 basins across Cape York: Archer, Coleman, Ducie, Embley, Endeavour, Holroyd, Jacky Jacky, Jardine River, Jeannie, Lockhart, Normanby, Olive-Pascoe, Stewart, Watson and the Wenlock.

The planning process will not deal with underground water that is managed under the Water Plan (Great Artesian Basin) 2006 as this water is subject to a separate water resource planning review process currently underway.

As the first step in seeking public feedback on the proposal to develop a water plan for Cape York, a statement of proposals (PDF, 1.2MB) was available for public review and comment. The statement of proposals outlines the key issues to be considered during the plan's preparation, the proposed approach for addressing the issues and how the community can be involved in developing the plan.

Submissions closed on 29 July 2016.

Moratorium on surface water and groundwater

On 6 May 2016, the Minister published a moratorium notice on new water licence applications and the construction of certain works in the Cape York plan area. The moratorium factsheet (PDF, 684.0KB) provides a guide to this notice.

Planning process

The Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (WROLA), includes a number of changes to the Water Act 2000 including reforms to the water planning framework to ensure a more efficient and streamlined planning process. Find out more about the changes to the planning process. These amendments commenced on 6 December 2016. As a result, the development of a water plan for Cape York will be in accordance with the WROLA reforms now incorporated into the Water Act.

Have your say 

Submissions on the statement of proposals closed 5pm, 29 July 2016. The department is currently analysing submissions and the issues raised.

Local consultative group

Nominations for membership on the local consultative group have also closed. Nominations are being considered and successful nominees will be advised shortly.

The group will be formed to provide a forum for communication between the community and the department and will have representatives from cultural, economic and environmental interests in the plan area. Members will meet to identify issues, review information and provide input and advice throughout the development of the plan.

Further details about the local consultative group are contained in the statement of proposals (PDF, 1.2MB).

Public notices

Contact us

If you would like more information about the Cape York water planning activities, please contact:

Department of Natural Resources and Mines
28 Peters Street
Mareeba QLD 4880

Phone: 1800 697 805
Fax: (07) 4092 2366



Last updated: 26 September 2017

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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