Barron water plan consultation

The Water Plan (Barron) 2023 (water plan) and supporting documents have been replaced following more than two years of community consultation and scientific assessments to ensure we meet local environmental, cultural, agricultural, and urban water needs into the future.

The water plan, Barron Water Entitlement Notice (PDF, 608.3KB) and Barron Water Management Protocol June 2023 (PDF, 1.1MB) (protocol) provide a framework for sustainably managing and allocating surface water and underground water.

The new water plan replaces the Water Plan (Barron) 2002 and the protocol replaces the Water Management Protocol (July 2017).

Summary of Changes

The new water plan balances the water needs for environmental, social, cultural, and economic purposes in the plan area by:

  • protecting the rights of existing water users within the water plan area
  • maintaining the ability to buy and sell water, either permanently or temporarily, through the water trading market
  • identifying an additional 20,550ML of unallocated water to meet new and emerging demands, including water reserves for First Nations Peoples and future irrigation expansion
  • recognising and respecting the cultural and spiritual connection to water of First Nations Peoples by incorporating traditional knowledge into the water plan
  • enhancing our protection of the Great Barrier Reef with updated objectives for testing the impacts of decisions on environmental water flow requirements
  • considering the effects of climate change on future water availability

allowing water users to take water for low-risk activities, including stock and domestic use, without the need for a water entitlement.

How we engaged

A variety of engagement activities and communication tools were used during the development of the new Barron water plan, including:

  • individual meetings with stakeholder groups and communities
  • on country meetings with First Nations Peoples
  • meetings during the draft water plan public consultation and submission phase
  • presentations at peak industry water engagement forums
  • website and social media communication
  • publication of technical information, and research reports.

The department thanks everyone who got involved to help shape the review of the Barron water plan. This includes those who contributed to more than 90 formal submissions received and more than 30 engagement meetings held since 2021.

View the Minister’s consideration report (PDF, 1.1MB) for more details on the consultation process undertaken and the considerations in finalising the water plan, Water Entitlement Notice and the protocol.

Further information

Understand more about the Water Plan (Barron) 2023

Last updated: 23 Jun 2023