Identifying unallocated water

Specifying volumes of unallocated water means they can be released to meet future demand without affecting water available for current water users, cultural values or the environment. The Gulf water plan currently includes unallocated water reserves for Indigenous, strategic and general purposes.

The Gulf water plan was amended in 2015 to identify 755 gigalitres of unallocated water in the Flinders and Gilbert river catchments, and provide options to make this water available to support the expanding irrigation industry without compromising existing water users. Since these changes, 119,360ML of unallocated water has been granted as water entitlements.

Demand for water from the critical minerals industry, agriculture industry, urban needs and First Nations peoples is increasing. These needs are competing for water which is not increasing in availability.

Unallocated water reserves are one option to meet some of the demand for additional water, another is to purchase water from a person or entity who currently owns an entitlement.

During this review, we will be assessing the demand for additional water supplies and considering the volumes and arrangements for unallocated water to better support cultural outcomes and economic growth.

What do you think?

  • What is your demand for additional water?
    • How much additional water do you need? Where do you need water from?
    • How long do you need more water for? What is your intended purpose for accessing more water?
  • How do you think competing demands for unallocated water should be balanced against impacts on existing water users?
Tell us in your submission.

More information

Detail about the current volumes and locations of unallocated water in the gulf are in the table on page 53 of the  Minister's performance assessment report (PDF, 2.6MB).

Last updated: 15 Mar 2024