A National Framework for Improved Groundwater Management in Australia
Task Force on COAG Water Reform
Sustainable Land and Water Resource Management Committee
Commonwealth of Australia, 1997
ISBN 0 642 27117 81
About the paper
This paper is the result of an undertaking in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Water Reform Framework Agreement of 1994.
Preparatory documentation for the Framework recognised the importance of groundwater in Australia's natural resource bas e as well as the need for the "industry as a whole to pay its way." Issues such as efficient and sustainable use of water resources, full cost recovery and provision of adequate water for the environment were seen as areas of reform necessary to assist Australia's competitive position in the world.
ARMCANZ has prepared this paper in response to COAG's specific request, in Section 3 of the Framework, for the Council to further investigate and report on groundwater. In so doing, ARMCANZ recognises that groundwater is already implicitly included in the many provisions of the Framework Agreement, 1994, but there are also further specific opportunities for reform in relation to groundwater that warrant consideration in the context of ongoing development of reforms built on, and around, the original Framework.
This paper offers advice to jurisdictions on further opportunities for reform in groundwater management, consistent with the principles agreed in the Water Reform Framework, 1994 and the Competition Policy, 1995, but additional to the specifics of these agreements. The paper also establishes inter-governmental agreement or guidance on some implementation issues relating to groundwater within the formal commitments of the Framework Agreement, 1994 and the Competition Policy, 1995.
The subject matter of the paper has been deliberately confined to dealing with issues associated with groundwater allocation, pricing and use, and has not considered issues of groundwater quality protection. Groundwater protection has been adequately covered in the Groundwater Protection Guidelines published in September 1995, as a module of the National Water Quality Management Strategy.
This paper should be read in conjunction with the National Principles for the Provision of Water for Ecosystems prepared jointly for ARMCANZ and the Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council, and the ARMCANZ policy position paper on Water Allocations and Entitlement - a National Framework for the Implementation of Property Rights in Water. It is based on a more comprehensive report prepared jointly by ARMCANZ and the National Landcare Program - "Towards a National Groundwater Management Policy and Practice, October 1995.