Water in the NT

The Northern Territory Government has released the Mataranka Water Allocation Plan 2024–34, designed to protect iconic springs and support the Territory’s agriculture sector.

The government said that sustainable management of the Territory’s water resources will help grow the Territory economy.

The plan is now open for public consultation and includes proposed management arrangements designed to ensure groundwater, iconic springs and flows in the Roper River will be managed sustainably and effectively.

Stakeholders who have contributed to the draft plan include the Mataranka Water Advisory Committee, comprising industry and landholder representatives, including Traditional Owners who have valuable knowledge of and an unbreakable connection to the resource.

The draft plan area comprises three management zones: North Mataranka, South Mataranka and Larrimah. It applies to the groundwater resources of the Tindall Limestone Aquifer, within an area of approximately 9282km², extending about 190km from north to south and up to 70km east to west.

Extraction limits will protect the groundwater resource and maintain spring flows of the Roper River, in line with natural climatic conditions during dry years while providing long-term water security for agriculture, horticulture and mining enterprises in the region.

In practical terms, this maintains more than 90 per cent of flows to the Roper River during the dry season.

In the Larrimah zone, water is stored deeper underground and therefore development will have less impact, so more water is being made available.

To view the draft plan and have your say, go to haveyoursay.nt.gov.au before consultation closes on 3 June 2024.

Northern Territory Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water Security, Kate Worden, said, “The Territory Labor Government is protecting the Territory’s water resources. Water is one of the Territory’s greatest assets and is playing a critical part in the Territory building a $40 billion economy by 2030.

“This plan specifically protects and manages groundwater that provides the base flows to the Roper River and its system of springs and creeks during the dry season. These beautiful unspoilt places are incredibly important to Territorians.

“The Mataranka Water Allocation Plan therefore provides the right balance between supporting industry and protecting waterways, by giving certainty around availability of water that does not compromise environmental and cultural values,” Ms Worden said.

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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