About water allocation planning

A water allocation plan sets how much water can be taken from groundwater and surface water resources that provides safety for the resource and the environment.

Plans cover a specific area and water resource within a declared water control district. To view the water control districts, go to the Northern Territory Government website.

Development of plans:

  • are a legislative document under the Northern Territory Water Act 1992
  • informed by years of technical and scientific assessment
  • developed in consultation with the community, Aboriginal people, industry and environmental organisations.

Water allocation plans set how much water is taken for use and how much needs to remain to protect the resource.

A water allocation plan is declared by the minister for up to 10 years. Plans get reviewed at the least every 5 years.

Water plan documents

There is a set of 3 documents for each water allocation plan to make the rules more clear.

Each water allocation plan area will have a:

  1. background report
  2. water allocation plan
  3. implementation actions.

The background report and implementation actions support the statutory water allocation plan.

The background report is a summary of the science and knowledge we have about the water resource, its values and use, including:

  • district, area, plan history and changes
  • resource, climate, rainfall and technical information
  • environmental and cultural needs of water in the area
  • licensed and non-licenced permitted water uses.

The plan sets out the:

  • control district and water management zones within the plan
  • purpose and objectives of sharing water
  • estimated sustainable yield of each water resource
  • allocation to beneficial uses within the estimated sustainable yield
  • eligible land for aboriginal water reserves and their size
  • benchmark for acceptable change in the environment
  • water licence requirements
  • review period
  • maps of the district and plan area.

The implementation actions document has the goals for the objectives and reporting.

It also includes items about:

  • monitoring the resource
  • timeframes
  • who needs to do what
  • the key performance indicators.

Read more about the set of documents in the water allocation plan documents overview DOCX (70.4 KB).

Water control districts provide closer management of water resources and enable the development of water allocation plans.

Water allocation plans are being developed on a priority basis in areas where there are competing demands for human consumptive needs and/or where natural aquatic ecosystems have significant ecological or social values. Get the map of water allocation planning areas from NT Land Information System.

Below is the current status of water allocation plans in the Northern Territory.

Water allocation planStatus
Ti-Tree Water Allocation Plan Declared 2020
Katherine Tindall Limestone Aquifer Water Allocation plan Declared 2019
Oolloo Dolostone Aquifer Water Allocation Plan Declared 2019
Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan Declared 2018
Alice Springs Water Allocation Plan Declared 2016
Berry Springs Water Allocation Plan Declared 2016
Great Artesian Basin Water Allocation Plan New Plan under development
Mataranka Tindall Limestone Aquifer Water Allocation Plan New Plan under development
Howard Water Allocation Plan New Plan under development

Last updated: 25 November 2022

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