Much of the detail related to implementation of the new Water Sustainability Act will be provided in regulations and operational policies. Due to the complexity of the new act and the number of proposed regulations, government is taking a phased approach to implementation.
Government has released four papers describing proposed new policies related to core water management activities. The papers discuss:
- Licensing groundwater use and assigning related water rights. Proposed policies encourage existing groundwater users to apply early for a licence.
- Requirements for constructing and maintaining wells and protecting groundwater, including the management of artesian flows and the deactivation and decommissioning of unused wells.
- Provisions to enhance dam safety; and reduce risk related to a dam failure, including more stringent requirements for emergency planning and annual review of downstream conditions.
- New offences and fines, including offences related to the beneficial use of water, groundwater licensing, and enhanced protection of aquatic ecosystems..
Pending government review and approval, the proposed policies are to be incorporated into new regulations that would come into force along with the Water Sustainability Act in 2016.
We invite you to share your thoughts about the proposed policies by leaving a comment below or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments will be accepted until September 8th, 2015.
The Living Water Smart Team