Water allocation planning in the Fitzroy – Policy position paper
The State Government is committed to protecting the Fitzroy River while supporting opportunities for sustainable economic development. On 23 October 2023, the State Government released Water allocation planning in the Fitzroy – Policy position paper. The paper outlines the key policy positions on which a draft Fitzroy water allocation plan for public comment will be based.
The policy positions were developed following extensive consultation on the Managing water in the Fitzroy River Catchment - Discussion paper for stakeholder consultation (November 2020) (view the Summary of submissions and more information) and informed by scientific studies.
The Fitzroy policy positions
- The State Government will not allow the Fitzroy River or its tributaries to be dammed.
- The State Government supports the licensed take of groundwater only where it is shown to be sustainable.
- The State government will restrict access to Alluvial and Devonian Reef aquifers.
- The State Government confirms that no additional surface water will be licensed.
- The State Government will establish a Fitzroy Aboriginal Water Reserve.
- The State Government supports a process that enables Traditional Owners to exercise their water-related cultural heritage and Native Title rights and provide advice to water planning and licensing.
- The State Government expects developments to avoid or minimise impacts on ecological, cultural and social values.
- The State Government supports aligning water licensing requirements with other regulatory decisions in a transparent way.
- The State Government supports a considered approach to water developments.
- The State Government remains committed to establishing an advisory group.
A draft water allocation plan will be released for public comment to give everyone a chance to provide feedback to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation before the plan is finalised.
For more information refer to the frequently asked questions.
Water allocation planning in Derby
The valued and thorough feedback received on the department’s 2020 Derby groundwater allocation plan: for public comment and the ongoing conversations with Traditional Owners showed that a revised draft Derby plan was needed.
A revised draft Derby plan will be released together with a future draft Fitzroy water allocation plan for further public comment.
See Derby groundwater allocation plan for more information.
Fitzroy water allocation plan area
The draft Fitzroy water allocation plan will cover the Fitzroy River Catchment and the groundwater resources which underlie the river and extend to the north.
This area was proclaimed for both groundwater and surface water as part of the Canning–Kimberley groundwater area (1997) and Fitzroy River Catchment area (1959) respectively. This means people who want to use water from the rivers and aquifers require a water licence to lawfully take surface water or groundwater from these areas. A water licence is not needed to take water for small-scale stock and domestic needs.
See our regulatory documents for more information on water licensing and exemptions.
A water allocation plan will cover:
- Surface water in the Fitzroy River and its tributaries
- Groundwater aquifers in the Canning-Kimberley groundwater area including
- Canning Alluvial aquifer
- Canning Broome aquifer
- Canning Wallal aquifer
- Canning Erskine aquifer
- Canning Liveringa aquifer
- Canning Noonkanbah aquifer
- Canning Grant-Poole aquifer
- Canning Devonian Reef aquifer
- Fractured Rock aquifer.
Discussion paper for stakeholder consultation
The public comment period for Managing water in the Fitzroy River Catchment - Discussion paper for stakeholder consultation (November 2020) (discussion paper) closed at 5pm (WST) on Tuesday 31 August 2021.
The discussion paper discussed the options and approaches being considered by the State Government to protect the Fitzroy River and manage the use of water to support sustainable economic development in the Fitzroy River Catchment. The paper was developed following two years of consultation with people who live and work in the catchment and interact with the Fitzroy River.
The discussion paper generated 43,093 submissions from Traditional Owners, organisations representing Aboriginal people, water users, industry, pastoralists, community groups, conservation groups, education institutions and public campaigns.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) reviewed the public comments received on the discussion paper on behalf of the State Government. The report Summary of submissions – Managing Water in the Fitzroy River Catchment: Discussion paper for stakeholder consultation (2020) summarises the responses received.
Technical reports for the Fitzroy water planning area
We have produced five technical reports for the Fitzroy water planning area.
View detailed information and download the reports and maps on our Fitzroy technical reports page.