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South East Queensland

                                                                                                   

Administration

                             

This page explains how legislation, plans and provisions are applied for surface, ground and environmental water. It also lists the organisations responsible for water management in this region.

 

Water Management, Legislation, Plans and Provisions

The South East Queensland Water Strategy is the blueprint for water security in the South East Queensland (SEQ) region.

From 1 July 2008 to the present the water industry in the SEQ region underwent significant reform. Over this period, the number of water management and distribution entities was reduced from 21 to six, and the role of the SEQ Water Grid Manager was created.

No major structural changes occurred in the water sector in this region during 2009–10. Changes that occurred immediately after 2009–10 are reported in the Significant Water Events section of the account.

Comparison of National Water Account 2010 and Queensland terminology


National Water Account 2010 Equivalent Queensland terminology
Water access entitlement

Water allocation
Interim water allocation
Water licence

Water allocation Announced allocation
Regulated Supplemented
Unregulated Unsupplemented
Entitlement trade Allocation trade
Allocation trade Seasonal water assignments
Security Priority

 

Surface Water

Surface Water Legislation

The Water Act 2000 (Qld) provides the authority for the administration of basic water rights and water entitlements (interim allocations, water licences and water allocations) in Queensland. This is done through the preparation of water resource plans (WRPs), which aim to ensure water is managed equitably for both human and environmental needs. Under section 38 of the Water Act 2000 (Qld), the relevant Minister may prepare a WRP for any part of Queensland to advance the sustainable management of water. WRPs may be prepared for, but are not limited to, the purposes listed under section 38(3) of the Water Act 2000 (Qld).

There are WRPs in place to manage water across the entire South East Queensland (SEQ) region.

The Water Act 2000 (Qld) also, among other things, provides the authority to:

  • ‘declare’ catchment areas for the purpose of water quality
  • grant water bore drillers' licences
  • define a framework for the establishment and operation of water authorities.

The Water Act 2000 (Qld) vests all rights to the use, flow and control of water in the State of Queensland.

 

Water Management Plans

A number of water management instruments, including water resource plans, are used in the South East Queensland (SEQ) region. These are described in Table A2.

The SEQ region contains three water management areas: Gold Coast, Logan Basin and Moreton. The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) finalised water resource plans and resource operation plans for each of these three areas.

Within each water resource plan (WRP) area, there is a number of water supply schemes (WSS) made up of connected water supply infrastructure.

The DERM monitors the implementation of WRPs throughout the SEQ region. A resource operation plan (ROP) is used to implement a WRP in specified areas. A resource operation licence (ROL) (or interim resource operation licence (IROL)) provides a licence under which water supply infrastructure can be operated.

Water resource plans (WRPs):

  • detail how the Queensland Government aims to meet the catchments’ social, economic and environmental needs
  • outline environmental flow objectives specific to the plan area
  • consider environmental values and water quality objectives
  • describe water allocation security objectives.

Resource operation plans (ROPs):

  • specify information for each regional water supply scheme (WSS)
  • detail how to operationally meet the water resource plan’s environmental flow objectives and water allocation security objectives
  • describe how the water resources will be managed day-to-day to meet these needs
  • outline WSS licence holder flow management, infrastructure operating conditions, water sharing, monitoring and trading rules.

Resource operation licences (ROLs):

  • provide detail of the licence holder and the ROP to which the licence relates
  • may stipulate the water infrastructure, such as dams and weirs, covered by the licence
  • specify any conditions that the holder of the licence must comply with, including operating arrangements and water supply requirements.

Seqwater is the ROL (or interim resource operation licence) holder for all water supply schemes in the South East Queensland region, with the exception of the Cressbrook Creek WSS which is held by Toowoomba Regional Council. Further information on ROLs can be found at the Department of Environment and Resource Management, Resource operations licences website.

Interim resource operation licences (IROLs):

  • provide detail of the licence holder
  • may stipulate the water infrastructure, such as dams and weirs, covered by the licence
  • specify any conditions that the holder of the licence must comply with, including operating arrangements and water supply requirements
  • are granted in relation to infrastructure in an area where a ROP has not been approved or the infrastructure has not yet been included in a ROP. Further information on IROLs can be found at the Department of Environment and Resource Management, Interim resource operation licences website
  • WSSs with IROLs located within the Moreton WRP area are to be included within the Moreton ROP in the future, where they are then converted to ROLs.
The water management plans and WSSs in the SEQ region during 2009–10 are detailed in Table A2.

Areas not covered by the WSSs are managed as Queensland unsupplemented water rights (which, for national consistency, in the National Water Account 2010 are referred to as ‘unregulated water rights’) under the WRPs and ROPs.

Table A2. Water management plans in the South East Queensland region during 2009-10

Water Resource Plan (WRP)

Resource Operation Plan (ROP)

Water Supply Scheme (WSS) and Resource Operation Licence (ROL)/ Iterim Resource Operation Licence (IROL)

Gold Coast WRP 2006

Gold Coast ROP 2009

Nerang WSS ROL (Seqwater)

Logan Basin WRP 2007

Logan Basin ROP 2009

Logan River WSS ROL (Seqwater)

Moreton WRP 2007

Moreton ROP 2009

Central Brisbane River WSS ROL (Seqwater)

Stanley River WSS ROL (Seqwater)

Cressbrook Creek WSS ROL (Toowoomba Regional Council)

Pine Valley WSS ROL (Seqwater)

Central Lockyer WSS IROL (Seqwater)¹

Lower Lockyer WSS IROL (Seqwater)¹

Warrill Valley WSS IROL (Seqwater)¹

Table notes:

  1. IROLs are not administered under a ROP.

Figure A1. Map of surface water management areas in the SEQ region

Figure A1. Map of surface water management areas in the SEQ region

Unallocated water (water in the consumptive pool not allocated to licence holders or needed for losses) may be held as a general, strategic or town water supply reserve. Unallocated water in a WRP area, if any, is identified in the WRP and a process for dealing with unallocated water is included in the ROP.

Groundwater

Groundwater Legislation

The Water Act 2000 (Qld) legislation, as discussed in Surface Water Legislation also applies to groundwater. In the Water Act 2000 (Qld) groundwater is referred to as ‘Underground Water’.

Groundwater Management Plans

All management plans that relate to groundwater are administered by the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM). No groundwater management areas (GMAs) exist within the Gold Coast or Logan Basin WRP areas.

The following GMAs exist within the South East Queensland (SEQ) region:

  • Cressbrook Creek Alluvial
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Warrill Bremer Alluvial.

Figure A2. Map of groundwater management areas in the SEQ region

Figure A2. Map of alluvial aquifers in the South East Queensland region

 

Environmental Water

Environmental Water Legislation

The Water Act 2000 (Qld) covers water for the environment. Water resource plans (WRPs) are produced in accordance with the Water Act 2000 (Qld) and must establish environmental flow objectives, ecological outcomes and consider environmental values listed in the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009.

 

Environmental Water Provisions

The environmental flow objectives in a water resource plan area are rules-based, with the aim to retain various temporal flow characteristics at different nodes along rivers. Environmental top-up releases are required from storages to ensure that environmental flow objectives are met. The volume required for release will vary depending upon the environmental flow objectives and flow conditions. Various performance indicators are used for assessing environmental flow objectives as described in the Environmental notes.

More details on specific environmental flow provisions can be found in the Moreton WRP (2006), Logan Basin WRP (2007) and Gold Coast WRP (2007).

 

Organisations Responsible for Water Management

Table A3. Organisations responsible for water management in the South East Queensland region during 2009-10 
Organisation Role Major storages operated within region
Department of Environment and Resource Management
  • water policy
  • planning
  • management
  • entitlement administration
  • water service provider regulator
 
SEQ Water Grid Manager
  • holds bulk urban entitlements with the region
  • manages SEQ Water Grid
  • purchases services to store, treat, produce and transport bulk water
  • sells treated water to local councils, power stations and other businesses
 
Seqwater
  • reservoir manager
  • bulk water supplier
  • manages the majority of WSS in the South East Queensland region
  • ROL and IROL holder
Lake Atkinson (Atkinson Dam)
Lake Dyer (Bill Gunn Dam)
Lake Manchester (Cabbage Tree Creek Dam)
Lake Wivenhoe
Lake Clarendon
Enoggera Reservoir
Gold Creek Reservoir
Lake Kurwongbah
Tingalpa (Leslie Harrison Dam)
Lake Moogerah
Mount Crosby Weir
Lake Samsonvale (North Pine Dam)
Lake Somerset
Advancetown Lake (Hinze Dam)
Little Nerang Dam
Cedar Grove Weir
Lake Maroon
Bromelton off-stream storage
LinkWater
  • infrastructure operator
  • transports treated water from Seqwater and WaterSecure through the SEQ Water Grid
 
WaterSecure  
Tarong Energy power generator Splityard Creek Dam
Gold Coast City Council urban utility: retail  
Logan City Council urban utility: retail  
Redland City Council urban utility: retail  
Scenic Rim Regional Council urban utility: retail  
Brisbane City Council urban utility: retail  
Ipswich City Council urban utility: retail  
Moreton Bay Regional Council urban utility: retail  
Lockyer Valley Regional Council urban utility: retail  
Somerset Regional Council urban utility: retail  
Toowoomba Regional Council
  • urban utility: retail
  • reservoir manager
  • manages Cressbrook Creek WSS
  • ROL holder
Lake Cressbrook
Lake Perseverance

Other Councils, of which part of their administrative area lies within the SEQ region, include:

  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council
  • South Burnett Regional Council.