Map of the basin
Water resource plan
On 19 August 2016, the Minister published the Water Resource (Great Artesian Basin) Plan (Postponement of Expiry Notice 2016 to postpone the expiry of the plan for one year to 1 September 2017.
In deciding to postpone the expiry of the plan, the Minister considered submissions received from the public on this matter. Thirteen submissions were received and the majority of submissions supported the postponement.
A new water plan is currently being developed to replace the Water Resource (Great Artesian Basin) plan 2006 which is now due to expire on 1 September 2017.
A Statement of Proposals (PDF, 824.9KB) was released in September 2015 inviting public comment on the development of a new water plan. Meetings were held in a number of regional towns during October and November 2015 to enable local communities to be briefed on the Statement of Proposals.
The feedback received through the meetings and formal submissions on the Statement of Proposals has been summarised.
The Minister's Performance Assessment Report (PDF, 1.1MB) which reviews the performance and effectiveness of the current plan is also available.
It is anticipated that a draft new water plan will be available for public comment in late-2016.
- The Great Artesian Basin water resource plan was released in 2006.
- A five year review (PDF, 622.0KB) of the plan was conducted in 2013 to assess whether the plan was fulfilling its objectives, and whether it needed to be amended. No changes were made at that time.
- The plan was amended through the Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 to provide for access to unallocated water to support development opportunities in Western Cape York. The amendment commenced on 18 February 2015.
- The Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts prepared two assessment reports:
Resource operations plan
The resource operations plan is being reviewed concurrently with the review of the water resource plan.
A draft new resource operations plan will be released for public comment at the same time as the draft new water plan, anticipated in late-2016.
The department has now commenced a process to release unallocated water across management areas of the Great Artesian Basin in late 2015. Tenders for unallocated water in the Great Artesian Basin have now closed.
The spring register
The water resource plan provides for a spring register listing the Great Artesian Basin springs that support significant cultural and environmental values. The water resource plan and resource operations plan protect the flow of groundwater to these springs.
The spring register contains information about spring locations, the spring type, the management units that are connected or supplying water to the springs, decisions made about water licences that could impact the flow of water to the springs, and the cumulative spring factor for each spring.
Spring factors are estimates of the change in pressure at a spring resulting from a water licence decision, as contained in the water resource plan. They are determined for new water licences granted from the unallocated water reserves (identified in the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Plan), and for water licence relocations, amendments, surrenders, and cancellations; and added to the pre-existing cumulative spring factors for each relevant spring in the register.
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 these dealings are consistent with the rules in the plan 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.
You can view past reports and historical documents relating to the Great Artesian Basin plans in the library catalogue.
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