The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has released a new water allocation plan for Western Davenport in the Northern Territory to replace the 2011 plan with a revived, sustainable model designed to maximise consumptive use for 2018-2021.
The Water Allocation Plan applies to the Western Davenport Water Control District, which covers an area of almost 24,500 square kilometres, located approximately 150km south of Tennant Creek.
Features of the new plan are:
- A refined Estimated Sustainable Yield of 168,405 megalitres per year (up from 55,200 megalitres per year), including a dedicated allocation to environmental and cultural beneficial uses
- An increase in the groundwater allocations for consumptive uses from 44,150 to 138,405 megalitres per year
- Criteria to protect environmental and cultural values associated with groundwater‑dependent ecosystems accessing shallow groundwater resources less than 15m below the surface
- Inclusion of a Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserve to provide access to water to eligible Aboriginal landholders to use for social and economic benefit
DENR Water Planning and Engagement Director, Tim Bond, said the Plan follows a review of the 2011 Plan, and thanked the Western Davenport Water Advisory Committee, general public, landholders, Traditional Owners and other key stakeholders for their input into the Plan following an extensive and thorough consultation period.
“The Plan’s purpose is to ensure that water resources are managed in a way that protects and maintains environmental and cultural values while allowing water to be sustainably used for productive beneficial uses,” Mr Bond said.
“The WAP is based on a new groundwater model that has enabled a better understanding of the groundwater systems in terms of their recharge, storage and discharge characteristics.
“This model has informed a new estimated sustainable yield, a term applied to how much water is available for water users.”
Modelling has highlighted that the ability to maximise the consumptive pool is contingent upon bore field locations and pumping strategies.
“The achievement of the Plan’s objectives will be supported by an adaptive management approach,” Mr Bond said.
“As new scientific knowledge about the water resources and water‑dependent ecosystems is obtained or the department becomes aware of requirements for protection of cultural values, this knowledge will be used in providing advice to the Controller of Water Resources.”