Barron water plan consultation

Draft Barron water plan consultation

A review process for the Water Plan (Barron) 2002 is underway and a draft plan, draft water management protocol and draft entitlement notice has been prepared for community consultation. Other supporting materials to assist you in making a submission are available.

Submissions on the draft plan have closed.

Once finalised, the new plan will replace the existing water plan which will expire in December 2022.

Postponement of water plan expiry date

A notice has been gazetted to postpone the expiry date of the Water Plan (Barron) 2002 to 30 June 2023.

Postponing the expiry of the water plan will enable the department to complete engagement with Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to consider all feedback and submissions received on the draft plan.

About the Barron water plan area

The Barron water plan area is located in Far North Queensland and covers approximately 5200 km2 comprising:

  • the Barron River catchment
  • upper reaches of the Walsh and Mitchell rivers
  • the Atherton Tablelands region
  • Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme (MDWSS)
  • parts of the Walsh and Mitchell River catchments enabling all supplemented water from the MDWSS to be managed under a single water plan.

The plan applies to all surface water, excluding overland flow water, and underground water in the Atherton and Cairns Northern Beaches underground water management areas. The main water uses in the plan area include town water supply, agriculture, fishing, tourism, hydro-electric power generation and the environment.

Summary of proposed changes

Any changes proposed to the existing water plan are explained fully in the statement of intent. In brief, the proposed changes include:

  • Recognising Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ objectives and desired outcomes for the management of water
  • Defining environmental outcomes to better support the Great Barrier Reef
  • Identifying unallocated water reserves for Indigenous purposes and general purpose use
  • Redefining water allocation security objectives to maintain water security and provide more flexibility
  • Enabling environmental flow objectives through better hydrological links to ecosystem needs.

How we are engaging

We want to hear your views on key provisions outlined in the consultation documents. We believe that through active collaboration and meaningful engagement, there is greater opportunity to achieve a more effective and sustainable water plan for the Barron.

Anyone who wishes to participate in the consultation is welcome. Targeted engagement with the affected communities will also enable more detailed discussions about proposals outlined in the draft plan. A variety of engagement activities and communication channels will be used such as:

  • meetings with stakeholder groups and communities
  • on country meetings with Traditional Owners
  • email updates
  • presentations at peak industry forums
  • website and social media updates
  • provision of technical information, factsheets and research reports.

Key consultation documents available

The following technical assessments supported the development of the draft water plan and are available for download:

Previous consultation activity

To inform the preparation of the draft Barron water plan, a preliminary public consultation notice was issued in March 2021 by the Minister inviting public submissions. Submissions closed on 16 April 2021, with 45 received. Indications showed support for the current plan provisions. Targeted consultation was also undertaken with Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders across the plan area.

Last updated: 12 Oct 2022