There are a number of key management principles for a sustainable water sector. The following discussion lists some of the important issues that face the NT.
- Investment in knowledge about the resource is an important issue. Ongoing resource capability assessment will lead to the definition of the quantity and quality of the resource as well as helping to define significant processes such as the interaction of surface water and groundwater. Continual investment will ensure that the latest information technology is used to generate, update and extend information. Sound information is required to underpin management decisions.
- Determination of the water requirements of ecosystems is the key to the ecologically sustainable management of water resources. Assessment work is required to provide the scientific knowledge base upon which groundwater dependent ecosystems can be identified and their water requirements estimated and also upon which environmental flow requirements can be determined.
- The goal of ecologically sustainable development of water resources must be enhanced by the community, industry and individuals.
- Regional Management Strategies need to be developed and implemented.
The Natural Resources Division has prioritised four main regions where Water Allocation Plans and Regional Management Strategies need to be developed: Darwin and surrounds, Katherine/Daly Region, Ti-Tree Basin and Alice Springs and surroundings. Together with the Water Reforms and requirements of the National Principles for the Provision of Water for the Environment (ANZECC 1996), the forecast increases in water use in these regions has driven the need for a consistent approach to managing water and incorporating environmental water requirements.
Water will continue to be vital to the NT. In determining future directions it is important that water be treated as a finite, renewable resource and that there is acknowledgment that it may become scarce. The value of water will continue to increase. The following goals and responses have been identified for the NT's water sector future.
- Continual building of our knowledge base to enable sustainable management of a finite resource. This goal will be achieved through the development of decision support systems, investment in appropriate upgraded information management modelling techniques and investment in new communication technology.
- The development of an efficient and equitable water allocation system to enhance social, economic and environmental well being. Water administration arrangements will be developed to reflect the value of the resource.
- Natural water resources will be protected to meet declared Beneficial Uses.
- More water will be made available through both existing resources and new sources and will contribute to sustainable development. Information on the incremental costs of new storages will be updated and a decision tree and rapid appraisal methodology for pre-feasibility will be developed that includes social and environmental costs.
- A pro-active risk management approach will be developed. Water resource planning techniques will increase in sophistication and the community will be made more aware of risk management and its implications.
Map of Northern Territory's surface water management areas
Select a point on the map to find out more about that surface water management area.
The NT is implementing a number of initiatives to encourage water users to manage their water in an environmentally sensitive way. The primary instrument is through the Beneficial Uses process. Water quality management in the Territory is controlled by the Water Act and in accordance with the National Water Quality Management Strategy. The term Beneficial Use is an indication of how the community and government want to manage and use the water in the catchment. Twenty Beneficial Uses have been declared mostly in the Top end Basins. The Power and Water Authority of NT has developed Demand Management Plans, and short and long term Drought Management Plans that take into account environmental considerations. In terms of public education, the following initiatives are currently being developed.
- National Water Week - all relevant water authorities participate in National Water Week;
- Waterwise Program - covers water customers in major populated areas in NT;
- Waterwatch - community monitoring of water quality
Map of Northern Territory's Groundwater Provinces
Select a point on the map to find out more about that groundwater province.
Specific initiatives being undertaken by the Natural Resources Division of DLPE with respect to the management of the NT's groundwater resources include:
- An NT wide assessment and mapping program to identify appropriate groundwater resources with significant regional development potential. Currently mapping has been completed or is in progress covering approximately 75% of the NT. This level of information is vital for effective planning for appropriate groundwater resource development.
- Groundwater database development to improve the management, use, analyses and dissemination of data and information to all users. The need to more effectively utilise existing groundwater data has resulted in investment in digital systems that enable greater access to and improved scope for analyses of data and information. As a result the ability to respond effectively to management issues is enhanced.
- Providing information to the public at an appropriate level in order to raise public awareness about groundwater. The NT has a groundwater page on the Department's web site http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/naturalresources/water/groundwater/, which is aimed at providing educational material to the public. The Division is also planning to provide hydrological and hydrogeological data, maps and information over the Internet. Specifically, water resource assessments have and are being undertaken for specific client groups such as the pastoral industry and aboriginal groups. An important aspect of these assessments is to provide a product that meets the needs of clients. This has resulted, in some cases, in multi-media packages of tailored maps, reports, databases and images being distributed on CD.
- Water bore driller licensing and bore construction standards are enforced to protect the integrity of the groundwater resources.
- A network of baseline groundwater resource monitoring is in place to provide for ongoing resource capability assessments.
- Integrated management of surface water and groundwater
- Groundwater Management Plans
- AWRC - Australian Water Resources Council. (1987). 1985 Review of Australian Water Resources and Water Use. Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, November 1987.
- Gordon, N. D., McMahon, T. A. and Finlayson, B. L. (1992). Stream Hydrology - An Introduction for Ecologists, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.
- Jolly, P. B. and Chin, D. N. (1991). Long term rainfall - recharge relationships within the Northern Territory, Australia. The Foundations of Sustainable Development. Proceedings of the International Hydrology and Water Resource Symposium Challenges for Sustainable Development, Perth 2 - 4 October, 824 - 829.
- The Australian Urban Water Industry Report 1999.
- Tickell, S. J. (1994). Dryland Salinity Hazard Map of the Northern Territory. Report 54/94D, Northern Territory Power and Water Authority, Darwin.
- Water Resources Division, Power and Water Authority - NT Water Blueprint for Future Direction.
- Northern Territory Water Resources Assessment 2000 Report
- Northern Territory Water Resources Assessment 2000 Technical Report
- Link to data available for download on the:
- Link to the Map Maker to make a map using this information.
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