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National Water Account 2017

Fitzroy: Water management

  • Administration of basic water rights and entitlements is governed by the Water Plan (Fitzroy Basin) 2011 under the Water Act 2000 and Water Regulation 2016.
  • The Water Plan specifies strategies for sustainable management of surface water, overland flow and groundwater in the Fitzroy region.
  • Resource Operations Plan and/or water management protocols are used to implement these strategies.


For further information on the region's water management scroll down this page or click on the links below:



Surface water and groundwater management

Water legislation

  • The Water Act 2000 (Water Act) provides authority for the administration of basic water rights and water entitlements (interim allocations, water licences, water allocations and unallocated water) in Queensland, supported by the Water Regulation 2016 (Water Regulation) which provides details on the procedures and fees associated with water access entitlements and trading.
  • Water plans are prepared under Section 42 of the Water Act to advance the sustainable management of water. The Water Plan (Fitzroy Basin) 2011 (Fitzroy WP) applies to all surface water and groundwater in the Fitzroy region, except for spring or overland flow waters connected to water to which the Water Plan (Great Artesian Basin and Other Regional Aquifers) 2017 (GABORA WP) applies.
  • The construction of overland flow works/infrastructure is regulated under the Queensland Planning Act 2016.


Water management plans

  • The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) is in the process of implementing a new water planning framework. Water management plans in place are the Water Plan (Fitzroy Basin) 2011 (Fitzroy WP) and the Fitzroy Basin Resource Operations Plan - September 2017 (Fitzroy ROP).
  • Five resource operations licences (ROLs) and associated manuals are under preparation. Sunwater is the licence holder for the Callide Valley water supply scheme (WSS), Dawson Valley WSS, Lower Fitzroy WSS, and Nogoa Mackenzie WSS ROLs; while Rockhampton Regional Council is the licence holder for the Fitzroy River Barrage WSS ROL.
  • Water sharing rules are in place for the Don and Dee groundwater sub-area  in the Callide groundwater management area (GMA), surface water within the Don and Dee Rivers and Alma Creek Water Management Area, and the Prospect Creek and Upper Callide groundwater sub-areas (Callide GMA).


Unallocated water

  • Unallocated water is available within the Fitzroy Basin for various purposes, comprising 58,500 ML of unallocated surface water and 31,250 ML of unallocated groundwater.
  • A tender process is underway for the the release of up to 50,250 ML of this unallocated water, which is expected to be finalised during 2018; more details are available from the DNRME website.


Environmental water management

Environmental water legislation

  • The Water Act provides for water for the environment.
  • Water plans are produced in accordance with the Water Act. These must establish environmental flow objectives and ecological outcomes, and consider environmental values listed in the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009.
  • Environmental values and water quality objectives documents are prepared for each of the six sub-basins with the region (Fitzroy, Dawson, Nogoa, Mackenzie, Isaac, and Comet).


Environmental water provisions

  • Environmental flow objectives aim to retain certain temporal flow characteristics at different locations in the river system. These are met through rules which govern storage releases and allowable abstraction.
  • Various performance indicators are used for assessing environmental flow objectives, as described in the Environmental benefit note.
  • More details on environmental flow objectives can be found in the Water Plan (Fitzroy Basin) 2011 and operating and environmental management rules can be found in the Fitzroy Basin Resource Operations Plan (September 2015).


Cultural water management

  • The traditional owners of the area are the Darumbal people, notably the Baiali and Jetimarala clans.
  • The Fitzroy resource operations plan (ROP) supports water-related cultural values, including the values of the traditional owners in the plan area, and provides mechanisms that support water being made available for Indigenous communities dependent on water resources in the plan area to achieve their economic and social aspirations.
  • Water which has been set aside for State Purpose includes use by Indigenous peoples for non-commercial purposes, including cultural and traditional purposes.


Organisations responsible for water management

  • Organisations responsible for water management in the Fitzroy region are shown in Table R1.


Table R1 Organisations responsible for water management in the Fitzroy region
Organisation Role Water resources managed

Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy

  • water resource planning
  • managing and allocating water resources
  • policy advice to government
  • regulate water service providers
  • regulate and manage unsupplemented surface water and groundwater licenses
  • regulate the water sharing rules for supplemented water
  • regulate and manage unsupplemented surface and groundwater
  • regulate Resource Operations Licence holders
  • regulate water supply scheme operators (supplemented water)


  • manage surface water storages
  • deliver bulk water to urban retailers
  • manage the water supply schemes
  • deliver water to water supply scheme customers
  • four schemes (Callide Valley, Dawson Valley, Lower Fitzroy and Nogoa Mackenzie)
  • all storages (see Figure R4 in 'Geographic information')
  • Nathan Dam and pipeline project
  • future infrastructure in Lower Fitzroy River Water Supply Scheme in partnership with GAWB

Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB)

  • manage bulk storage of water
  • provide the distribution of bulk potable water to customers
  • future infrastructure in Lower Fitzroy Water Supply Scheme in partnership with SunWater

Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA)

  • enhance stakeholder engagement in natural resource management within region
  • assist with programs and projects to enhance water quality and sustainability of ecosystems
  • involvement in land use planning activities
  • indirectly through programs and projects whole of Fitzroy Basin

Queensland Water Directorate (Qldwater)

  • central advisory and advocacy body within Queensland's urban water industry working with members to provide safe, secure, and sustainable water services to Queensland communities
  •  nil

Local Governments1:

  • Rockhampton Regional Council - Fitzroy River Water (FRW)
  • Banana Shire Council
  • Central Highlands Regional Council
  • Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council


  • manage bulk water infrastructure
  • provide the distribution and retail of potable water to customers
  • Provide the distribution and retail of non potable water to customers
  • collect and treat wastewater
  • provide the distribution and retail of recycled water to customers
  •  FRW - Fitzroy Barrage Water Supply Scheme

Local Management Boards2



  • manage the water supply schemes
  • deliver water to water supply scheme customers
  •  nil


1. Other councils that have part of their administrative area within the Fitzroy region include: Barcaldine Regional Council, Blackall Tambo Regional Council, Gladstone Regional Council, Livingstone Regional Council, Mackay Regional Council, Maranoa Regional Council, Murweh Shire Council, North Burnett Regional Council and Western Downs Regional Council.

2. In October 2015, the Queensland Government announced its decision to transition up to eight SunWater channel irrigation schemes to local management arrangements (LMA). Local management will place the channel irrigation schemes under the ownership and operation of newly established boards comprising local irrigators and business representatives who benefit from the schemes. Emerald (Nogoa Mackenzie)  and Theodore (Dawson Valley) schemes are included in these arrangements. Subject to due diligence and sufficient customer support, a decision on ownership of the schemes is expected in 2018.