Warren-Donnelly surface water allocation plan
Plan release information
The department has released the following allocation planning documents in the Warren–Donnelly area:
- Warren–Donnelly surface water allocation plan in April 2012 – the department uses the plan to maintain a reliable supply to water users and the environment
- Donnelly River allocation statement in December 2018 – the department assessed water allocation limits for the Donnelly River to determine water availability for an irrigation scheme while continuing to maintain water for environmental flows and existing self-supply water use. Three subareas were adjusted – Middle Donnelly, Upper Donnelly and Record Brook.
The Warren–Donnelly surface water allocation plan methods report and Statement of Response were released at the same time as the plan and detail how the plan was developed and how the department responded to public submissions, respectively.
We have regularly evaluated whether the plan's objectives are being met and the first evaluation statement is now available:
Water allocation planning in the Warren–Donnelly
The department began work on the Warren–Donnelly surface water allocation plan in 2008 after a study indicated that some rivers may be fully allocated or over-allocated. This highlighted that individual licence assessments were no longer enough to manage water use effectively at a subarea level and allocation limits needed to be introduced.
The plan contains:
- the total amount of water that is available to be licensed
- water resource objectives and desired outcomes
- the policies that will be applied as part of the department's licence decisions
- the department's approach to managing water in the Warren–Donnelly area.
The plan introduced allocation limits and, for the first time, formalised how the department will manage and allocate surface water in the area. The new allocation limits explain how much surface water is available in each surface water resource and replaces previous limits.
In 2018 the department assessed water allocation limits for the Donnelly River to determine water availability for an irrigation scheme while continuing to maintain water for environmental flows and current self-supply water use. The proposed Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme aims to provide additional water in fully allocated areas of the Warren and Donnelly river catchments.
As a result of the assessment:
- most of the water allocation limits remain unchanged from those in the department’s Warren–Donnelly surface water allocation plan (2012)
- only three subareas upstream of the proposed scheme were adjusted – Middle Donnelly, Upper Donnelly and Record Brook
- the new water allocation limits apply from 18 December 2018.
The new allocation limits and how we undertook the assessment are explained in the Donnelly River allocation statement.
The Warren-Donnelly plan area is in the south-west of Western Australia. It includes the Warren and Donnelly River basins, which cover an area of almost 6100 km2, as well as the townships of Manjimup and Pemberton.
The plan area covers the Donnelly River System and Warren River and tributaries surface water areas.
The rivers in the area are the Warren River and its tributaries, including Tone, Perup, Yerraminup, and Wilgarup rivers and Lefroy Brook, as well as the Donnelly River and its tributaries, including Barlee Brook.
For management purposes, the plan area is divided into 25 surface water resources (identified on the map), which are based on hydrological catchment boundaries.
For allocation planning and licensing, the department refers to surface water resources instead of referring to the major river or stream that drains the resource unit.
Warren-Donnelly surface water plan area and subareas