Water Amendment (Interactions with State Laws and Water Information) Regulation 2013

This regulation made in November 2013 makes three amendments to the Water Regulations 2008.

Transitional Water Resource Plans

Part 11 of the Act provides, as a transitional measure, for the continuing operation of relevant Basin State water resource plans for a defined period after the Basin Plan first takes effect by recognising plans as transitional and interim water resource plans. Provisions of transitional and interim water resource plans which are inconsistent with the Basin Plan override the Basin Plan to the extent of the inconsistency. Current transitional water resource plans cease to be recognised under the Act on the date specified in Schedule 4 to the Principal Regulations, if the plan has not ceased to have effect under state law before that date. The period of recognition for interim water resource plans is the later of: the end of 31 December 2014 or five years after the plan is made.

Current transitional and interim water resource plans do not provide an adequate transitional mechanism in the period leading up to the commencement of Basin Plan sustainable diversion limits as many of the current transitional and interim water resource plans will have expired well before 1 July 2019.

The Regulation provides for an extended period of transition by recognising State plans in Part 1 of Schedule 5 as transitional water resource plans.

Water Resource Plan Areas Delayed

Section 54 of the Act provides that there is to be a water resource plan for each water resource plan area. The regulation modifies the operation of section 54 by providing that the section does not apply in relation to a State area specified in Part 2 of Schedule 5 until after the day specified in Part 2 of Schedule 5. The effect of this delay is to provide Basin States seeking accreditation for their water resource plans under the Act with an extended period to prepare plans which are consistent with the Basin Plan.

Water Information

The Act confers on the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) the role of collecting, holding, managing, interpreting and disseminating Australia’s water information. Part 7 of the Act enables the Bureau to fulfil its function of collecting water information. Part 7 of the Principal Regulations supports this role. Under section 126 of the Act, a holder of water information, specified in the regulations, must provide water information, specified in the regulations, to the Bureau. The regulations specify the types of water information and, by reference to the Persons and Classes of Persons document, who must provide such information.

The Regulation amends the Principal Regulations to add to the list of water information requirements which will ensure ongoing supply of updated data for the National Groundwater Information System (NGIS) and National Aquifer Framework, providing a range of nationally consistent groundwater information.

The Regulation also amends the Principal Regulations to provide for the Director of Meteorology to approve the form in which providers give their water information to the Bureau. This means that certain water information must be given to the Bureau in specified formats.

The water information amendments do not commence until 28 February 2014, to maximise the time available for data providers to achieve compliance with the new format requirements.

Further information on the water information amendments is available on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website.

More Information

Full details of the Water Amendment (Interactions with State Laws and Water Information) Regulation 2013 are available on the Comlaw website.

Further information about water regulations.