Cockburn Groundwater Area water management plan
Released 07 Jan 2008
The Department of Water has produced a new management plan to balance the need for water for industry and agriculture whilst protecting the water-dependent environmental values in the Cockburn Groundwater Area.
The Department of Water's Acting Director General John Ruprecht said the plan is intended to improve certainty for existing and potential water users in the area as well as protecting the environment. It recognises that there is only limited potential for further development of groundwater resources in the area.
Significant wetlands, with national and international protection status, are located in the Cockburn Groundwater Area including lakes, bush sites, and conservation wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain.
Licensed allocations have reached 35 gigalitres, with most coming from the shallow, superficial aquifer.
"The Department of Water has revised allocation limits for the aquifers in response to declining water levels in groundwater aquifers," Mr Ruprecht said.
"There is some water available for use in the parts of the shallow superficial aquifer where there would be no impact on water-dependent environmental values."
"The department will not issue any new licence entitlements in areas where the allocation limits have been reached but it will support individuals who wish to undertake hydrogeological studies to show additional groundwater can be taken on a sustainable basis from the aquifers".
"This will require some groundwater flow modelling and ongoing monitoring to demonstrate that any impacts caused by the groundwater development are acceptable."
Mr Ruprecht said the Department of Water supported water trading as a market-based opportunity for increased development in fully allocated groundwater systems.
"The plan, which was finalised after a period of public comment, recognises the current water use in the Cockburn Groundwater Area is close to the sustainable yield, which means careful management is required to ensure that the quality of and accessibility to groundwater is not compromised".
"As part of good water management water licensees will be encouraged to be more efficient users and implement water conservation programs."
A copy of the plan can be obtained from the Department of Water on tel: 08 6364 7600 or by visiting the web site at www.water.wa.gov.au.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441