The Water Resource (Wet Tropics) Plan 2013 (Wet
Tropics Plan) was released on 13 December 2013, and establishes a
framework for the allocation and management of surface water and
groundwater in seven Wet Tropics catchment areas: Daintree,
Mossman, Mulgrave-Russell, Johnstone, Tully, Murray and
Key considerations for resource tenement holders
Under the new plan, explained further below, resource tenements
holders in the Wet Tropics region need to be aware that if they are
unable to obtain a water allocation under the general reserve due
the volumetric limit being reached, they may be required to apply
for unallocated water within the State's strategic reserve.
In this case, their project would need to be declared a
coordinated project or a project of regional significance. Such
projects must be considered by the chief executive with regard to
the economic or social impact the project will have on the region,
the public interest and the welfare of people in the region.
About the Wet Tropics Plan:
defines the availability of water in the plan area;
provides a framework for sustainably managing water and the
taking of water;
identifies priorities and mechanisms for dealing with future
provides a framework for establishing water allocations;
provides a framework for reversing, where practicable,
degradation in natural ecosystems; and
regulates the taking of groundwater.
Some of the key provisions of the plan include:
Converting 214 existing water licences to tradeable water
allocations. A water allocation has a separate title that can be
sold or leased by a landowner, unlike a water licence that attaches
Calculation provisions for the daily and annual volumetric
limits for water allocations and converted water licences.
Meeting future water needs by setting aside a certain volume of
unallocated water reserves in the seven Wet Tropics catchments for
the following purposes, being:
for unallocated water held as a strategic reserve—a State
purpose or Indigenous purpose;
for unallocated water held as a Cape York Indigenous
reserve—an Indigenous purpose;
for unallocated water held as a general reserve—any
for unallocated water held as a high flow reserve (which can be
made available for water harvesting in the wet season) —any
Outcomes of community consultation are outlined in a separate
document, the Wet Tropics Water Resource Plan Consultation Report,
here. A map of the water resource planning area is available
It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
This briefing note sets out a likely structure for the proposed privatisation of the networks and identifies key issues.
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