The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is coordinating public consultation on the second assessment of the condition of the condition of the Lake Eyre Basin as required under the Intergovernmental Agreement signed by Ministers of the Australian, Queensland and South Australian governments in October 2000and by the Northern Territory in 2004.
There are currently six policies under the existing Agreement:
River Flows Policy
Water Quality Policy
Water and Related Natural Resources Policy
Existing Entitlements and Water Resource Development Policy
Research and Monitoring Policy
Whole-of-Basin Approach Policy.
The review of the operation of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement was undertaken by consultants, Noetic Group, on behalf of the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum.
It found that the Lake Eyre Basin is in reasonably good condition overall. However, it identified significant threats and pressures including:
the impacts of climate change on Lake Eyre Basin hydrology;
groundwater bore extraction;
impacts from resource development such as mining or gas exploration;
further impacts from invasive plants and animals;
land use changes from irrigation developments in upstream locations and greater intensity of agriculture.
It concluded that “the development of proactive measures, supported by Key Performance Indicators as measurement criteria, would allow the Senior Officers Group and Ministerial Forum to prevent issues arising in the first place. A risk-based precautionary approach to managing threats and pressures is the most efficient and effective way to maintain the Basin’s current good health.”
It also found a view that “there is a need for Basin partners to address a clearer coordinated approach to water resources management across the Basin, to assess current and future climate change impacts, current and future water demands from mining (gas), irrigation and other industries and review the current boundaries of the Agreement.”
The review presented a suite of recommendations to improve outcomes from the management of the Lake Eyre Basin.
The Second Review of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement is available here
Consultation on the assessment closes on May 2, 2018. More information is here