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The changes are necessary to improve water management and use; and for Queensland to be consistent with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan 2012.
The Condamine and Balonne, Border Rivers and Moonie river catchments form a large part of the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin and support communities and industry, including agriculture and tourism, from Toowoomba to Mitchell and along the border areas with New South Wales.
The existing Condamine and Balonne, Border Rivers and Moonie water resource plans are over 10 years old and due to expire in June 2019.
New science-based water resource plans will be developed to continue the sustainable management and productive use of water in the three catchments while meeting environmental and Aboriginal cultural water needs.
As the Queensland Government is committed to implementing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, these new water resource plans must also be consistent with that plan.
Released for public consultation are two Statements of Proposals identifying the scope of issues to be considered in developing new water resource plans for the Condamine and Balonne, Border Rivers and Moonie catchments.
The Department of Natural Resources and Mines will work closely with stakeholders to develop new plans that better manage surface and groundwater resources and achieve positive economic, social, environmental and indigenous outcomes for the region.
Many groundwater and surface water systems are fully allocated so the department will look at ways to introduce or improve water trading opportunities.
For example, the proposed conversion of ground and surface water licences to water allocations will provide greater security of entitlement and the ability to trade water.
In the Stanthorpe area this will protect existing water users, including horticultural and tourism businesses, by managing new development so that it will not impact on existing water use in the area.
The department is proposing to see if there are opportunities to improve flow management rules in the Lower Balonne and convert groundwater licences to tradable water allocations in some parts of the Upper Condamine Alluvium and Tributaries.
There is also a proposal to amalgamate the Border Rivers and Moonie water resource plans into a single plan. Check out this casino list! Importantly this will not affect the unique identity of these separate rivers systems and will simply allow government to streamline development of water plans into the future.
A moratorium on new works that intercept groundwater in the Granite Belt Underground Water Area, except for stock and domestic purposes, now applies for the duration of the water planning process.
Extensive consultation with communities and stakeholders will form a key part of the development of new water resource plans for the three catchments.
The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is already consulting key stakeholders including water user groups and community leaders about the proposals.
Public information sessions will be held in affected communities and we will continue to engage with the community throughout the process to ensure their concerns and suggestions are considered.
Anyone with an interest in the water resource plans is encouraged to lodge a submission with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
The period for submissions on the proposals will close at 5 pm on 31 August 2016.
Submissions should be marked for the attention of either the Condamine-Balonne WRP Coordinator or the Border Rivers and Moonie WRP Coordinator andmay be lodged online or in writing and posted, emailed or faxed to:
Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Attn: Principal Natural Resource Officer
Water Services South Region
PO Box 318
Toowoomba QLD 4350
Facsimile: 07 4529 1555 Attn: Principal Natural Resource Officer
More information about the planning process is available by telephoning 07 4529 1221 or viewing the two Statement of Proposals on the department’s water catchments website at: www.dnrm.qld.gov.au.