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National Water Account 2018

South East Queensland: Water management

  • Administration of basic water rights and entitlements is governed by four water plans covering the region under the Water Act 2000 and Water Regulation 2016.
  • These water plans specify strategies for sustainable management of surface water, overland flow and groundwater in the region.
  • Resource operations plans and/or water management protocols are used to implement these strategies.

Diagram of South East Queensland region, describing water management, environmental water and cultural water within the region.

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

 

Water management plans

  • The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is in the process of implementing a new water planning framework. Current water management planning instruments are summarised in Table R2.
  • The four water plan areas in the region—Gold Coast, Moreton, Logan Basin, and part of the Mary Basin—are shown in Figure R7.
  • Draft amendments to the Water Plan (Moreton) 2007 and Moreton Water Management Protocol were published in November 2018, which seek to to establish water allocation and management arrangements for existing entitlement holders in the Central Lockyer Valley Water Supply Scheme.
  • Five groundwater management areas—Cressbrook Creek Alluvial, Lockyer Valley, Warrill Bremer Alluvial, Watercourse Buffer Zone, and Cooloola Sandmass subartesian area—exist within the region, as shown in Figure R8. These are all located in the Moreton water plan area, except the Cooloola Sandmass which lies within the Mary Basin water plan area.
  • The Great Artesian Basin and Other Regional Aquifers (GABORA) water plan area also underlies part of the region, though GABORA resources are not included in the region account.

 

Table R2 Water management planning instruments in the South East Queensland region during the 2017–18 year
Water planWater management protocolResource operations licence
Water Plan (Gold Coast) 2006Gold Coast Water Management ProtocolNerang Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence
Water Plan (Logan Basin) 2007Logan Basin Water Management Protocol (currently in preparation)Logan River Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence (currently in preparation)
Water Plan (Moreton) 2007

Moreton Water Management Protocol

Central Brisbane River Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence
Stanley River Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence
Cressbrook Creek Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence
Pine Valleys Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence
Lower Lockyer Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence
Warrill Valley Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence

Water Plan (Mary Basin) 2006Mary Basin Water Management Protocol(currently in preparation)

Baroon Pocket Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence
Mary Valley Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence

(currently all in preparation)

 

Figure R7 Water plan areas in the South East Queensland region
Figure R7 Water plan areas in the South East Queensland region

  

Figure R8 Groundwater management areas in the South East Queensland region
Figure R8 Groundwater management areas in the South East Queensland region
 

 

Environmental water management

  • 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 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 four water plans active in the region (Gold CoastMoretonMary Basin, and Logan Basin).

 

Cultural water management

  • The four water plans in the region support water-related cultural values. Allowing cultural use of the plan area by traditional owners is listed as a general outcome for surface water and/or groundwater in all four water plans.
  • The water plans also require decision makers to consider the proposed impacts of various actions on cultural values including, for example, cultural values of traditional owners, and where appropriate impose conditions to ensure these cultural values are maintained. These actions include taking water from waterholes or lakes, granting water from general, strategic and town water supply reserves, and deciding operational and supply arrangements for water infrastructure.
  • Other relevant plans include the South East Queensland Natural Resource Management Plan 2009–2031, which emphasises recognising traditional owners as natural resource managers, and acknowledges the SEQ Traditional Owner Cultural Resource Management Plan and its targets and actions as an integral element of regional natural resource management planning.
  • The South East Queensland Traditional Owners Alliance (SEQTOA) is the peak body formed by traditional owner cultural groups in the South East Queensland region to represent and advance their interests in cultural and natural resource management.

 

Organisations responsible for water management

  • Organisations responsible for water management in the South East Queensland region are shown in Table R3.
  • The Queensland Water Directorate (qldwater) does not manage water, but coordinates centralised provision of water data for almost all Queensland water management entities.

 

Table R3 Organisations responsible for water management in the South East Queensland region
OrganisationPrincipal rolesMajor storages managed by organisation

Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

  • Manages through regulatory functions for the productive and responsible use of water, land, mineral and energy resources.
  • Delivers innovative policy, planning and regulatory solutions in partnership with stakeholders to support cost-effective, safe, secure and reliable energy and water supply.

None

Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science

  • Develops and coordinates science and information and communication technology policy, whole-of-government approach on innovation, supports and invests in research and development, manages state's intellectual property policy and assets.
  • Manages the health of the environment to protect Queensland's unique ecosystems, including its landscapes and waterways as well as its native plants, animals and biodiversity.

None

Queensland Government Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing

  • Manages national park, marine parks, forests, conservation parks, fish habitats, resource reserves and races.

None

Seqwater

  • Bulk water supplier: manages more than $11.9 billion of water supply assets, including dams, weirs, conventional water treatment plants, reservoirs, pumps and pipelines, the Gold Coast desalination plant and the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme, collectively known as the South East Queensland Water Grid
  • Manages the majority of water supply systems in the South East Queensland region 
  • Holds majority of resource operations licences and interim resource operations licences
  • Manages recreation facilities providing more than 50% of the green space in the region outside of national parks
  • Manages water quality in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Hinze, Bromelton Off-Stream Storage, Cedar Grove Weir, Enoggera, Gold Creek, Atkinson, Clarendon, Bill Gunn, Lake Kurwongbah, Lake Manchester, Lake Maroon, Lake Moogerah, North Pine, Somerset, Wivenhoe, Little Nerang, Mount Crosby Weir, Leslie Harrison, Wyaralong, Baroon Pocket, Cooloolabin, Ewen Maddock, Lake McDonald, Poona and Wappa

Tarong Energy

  • Power generator

Splityard Creek

Queensland Urban Utilities, Council of the City of Gold Coast, Logan City Council, Redland City Council, Unitywater, South Burnett Regional Council

  • Urban utility: retail

None

Toowoomba Regional Council

  • Urban utility: retail
  • Surface water store manager
  • Manages Cressbrook Creek Water Supply Scheme
  • Cressbrook Creek Resource Operations Licence holder

Cressbrook and Perseverance

   

Figure R9 Utility service areas in the South East Queensland region
Figure R9 Utility service areas in the South East Queensland region