Plan release information
We have released the following allocation planning documents for the Murray groundwater area:
- Murray groundwater allocation plan and Statement of response in April 2012 – the plan guides water licensing and set allocation limits in all aquifers of the Murray groundwater area.
- Murray groundwater area allocation statement in December 2022 – the statement sets new allocation limits for all Superficial aquifer resources in the Murray groundwater area as well as the deeper Leederville and Cattamarra Coal Measures resources in the Nambeelup subarea.
Water allocation planning in the Murray area
The 2012 Murray groundwater allocation plan was the first plan completed for the Murray groundwater area. It describes how we allocate and manage water resources and monitor, measure and evaluate the objectives of the plan.
The 2022 Murray groundwater area allocation statement describes our review of allocation limits in the Murray groundwater area. It uses new information gathered since the 2012 allocation plan was published, including technical studies completed as part of the Peel Integrated Water Initiative. These studies recommended the 2012 allocation limits be reduced because of climate change and reduced recharge to the aquifers in the area.
Key outcomes of the allocation limit review:
- The review focused on all Superficial aquifer resources in the Murray groundwater area as well as the deeper Leederville and Cattamarra Coal Measures resources in the Nambeelup subarea.
- The review showed that taking groundwater up to the limits set in the 2012 Murray groundwater allocation plan is no longer sustainable as the climate continues to become drier and hotter.
- Allocation limits were reduced to enable supply to existing groundwater users to continue over the next 10 years and reduce the risks to groundwater‑dependent ecosystems and cultural values.
- The new allocation limits do not affect current licensees; however, they will limit future groundwater availability.
- We will review the Leederville and Cattamarra resources of the Coolup, Pinjarra and Waroona subareas after the Murray‑Peel groundwater investigation is completed in late 2024.
The Murray groundwater area allocation statement is part of the WA Government’s Kep Katitjin-Gabi Kaadadjan (Waterwise Perth action plan 2) to establish leading waterwise communities for Boorloo (Perth) and Bindjareb (Peel) by 2030.
The Murray groundwater area is located approximately 50 km south of Perth and covers 1,050 km2.
Groundwater use supports local irrigated agriculture and horticulture; public open space and recreation in Mandurah, Ravenswood, Pinjarra and Waroona; and garden bores across urban areas and where scheme water is not connected.
Groundwater provides baseflow for the Murray and Serpentine rivers, and supports wetlands and high‑value vegetation communities including Banksia woodlands. These places are culturally and socially significant areas.
The groundwater resources in the area are four sedimentary aquifers, both unconfined and confined, and a fractured rock aquifer system along the Darling Scarp. In order of their increasing depth, they are the Superficial, Rockingham Sand (where present), Leederville and Yarragadee aquifers.
For management purposes, the Murray groundwater area is divided into four subareas – Nambeelup, Coolup, Pinjarra and Waroona.