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Great Artesian Basin

Draft water plan  

The Queensland Government is seeking public input on a draft water plan for the Great Artesian Basin and other regional aquifers. The draft water plan aims to provide a balanced water management approach by ensuring existing users and the environment continue to have adequate access to the resource, while also allowing for potential new development and industries.

Under the Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014, water resource plans and resource operations plans have been replaced by new planning instruments. Water planning outcomes for the Great Artesian Basin catchment are now provided by the Water Plan (Great Artesian Basin) 2006 and Great Artesian  Basin Water Management Protocol.

Once these documents have been prepared in accordance with the transitional provision in the Act they will be made available below.

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of the largest groundwater basin complexes in the world. It lies beneath 22% of Australia and intersects four state and territory boundaries. About 70% of the GAB lies within Queensland and is a major source of water for inland communities and industry.

The GAB also feeds numerous springs of significant environmental and cultural conservation value. There are over a thousand springs in the Queensland part of the Basin.

Note that the water plan area is currently being reviewed as part of the development of the new Great Artesian Basin and other regional aquifers water plan.

Have your say

Find out how to have your say on the draft water plan and water management instruments.

Water planning

The water of the Queensland section of the Great Artesian Basin is currently managed through the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Plan 2006. The water resource plan is implemented through the Great Artesian Basin Resource Operations Plan (PDF, 4.2MB) which was finalised in December 2006.  

These plans are due to expire on 1 September 2017 and we are currently preparing their replacements.  

The first step in the development of the replacement plan was the September 2015 release of a Statement of Proposals (PDF, 824.9KB) which provided background information on the plan area and key issues for the new water plan. The Minister's Performance Assessment Report (PDF, 1.1MB) which provided additional contextual information and assessed how well the current water resource plan had performed was released at the same time.  

The department received 69 submissions on the statement of proposals, and these were considered in preparing the draft new plan. A consultation summary report (PDF, 747.1KB) provides an overview of the issues raised in the public submissions.  

Under the Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014, resource operation plans and water resource plans are being replaced. Find out more about these changes to the planning process.

A number of supporting documents have been prepared during the development of the draft water plan and protocol that may assist the community in understanding how the GAB is managed.

Water licence relocation

Water licensees in the plan area are able to relocate water by transferring, amending or amalgamating all or part of their water licences. Relocations can occur provided they are consistent with the rules regarding protection of entitlements of existing users and flow to springs.

The relocation of a water licence enables a licensee to transfer ownership of the entitlement, permanently transferring the water licence from the land to which it is attached, to another parcel(s) of land.

This process differs from water trading, whereby water allocations are traded independently of land titles and have their own registrable title.

Previous documents

You can view past reports and historical documents relating to the Great Artesian Basin plans in the library catalogue.

Contact us

Attention: GABORA Water Plan Coordinator
Water Policy
Department of Natural Resources and Mines
PO Box 15216
City East Qld 4002

Phone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68) during business hours 
Email: Great Artesian Basin WRP coordinator


Last updated: 7 April 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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