26/09/2013 - 09:56

State government flags water reforms

26/09/2013 - 09:56

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The state government has launched plans to modernise century-old water management regulations, as vast mining operations and population growth exert pressure on the state’s water resources.

State government flags water reforms

The state government has launched plans to modernise century-old water management regulations, as vast mining operations and population growth exert pressure on the state’s water resources.

In a position paper released for public comment today, the Department of Water outlines the need to ensure water resources are managed sustainably into the future and encourage innovation that reduces demand on existing resources.

The department also stresses the need to rebuild the fragmented and inefficient legislative framework for water resources management.

Water resources legislation is currently spread across six different Acts, one of which has been in place since 1914, creating uncertainty for industry stakeholders.

The state government intends to introduce new legislation to replace several existing Acts.

Other proposed reforms include simplifying the process for water licence applications and providing more secure entitlements for licence holders.

Water Minister Terry Redman said the government remained committed to its election promise not to introduce water licence fees and would maintain the existing water licence arrangements for farm dams.

“The reforms will provide the state government and water users with more options for managing water and reflect greater transparency and clarity of regulations,” he said.

The position paper was developed in consultation with key stakeholders across a range of industries.

More than 80 per cent of the state’s available water supports agriculture, horticulture, mining, industry and local government.

The public has until December 31 this year to provide comment on the position paper.

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