Water Planning Tools

From WaterWiki.net

Jump to: navigation, search

Project ID

Water Planning Tools
Water Planning Tools

Project Title

Water Planning Processes: Lessons, Gaps and Adoption


Water planning research and development

Focus Areas

adaptive management, community participation, science communication, Indigenous values, deliberation, climate change, water scarcity

Geographic Scope

Lead Organization(s)

Griffith University

Project Partners

Australian National Water Commission, CSIRO, University of the Sunshine Coast, Charles Sturt University



2008 - 2010


In progress

Project website(s)




(Source: Circle of Blue)

The Water Planning Tools is a research and development project which develops tools to assist communities and governments as they address challenges in water allocation and water quality planning. It aims to extend knowledge and skills into the water planning sector, and to inform policy-making at national and state levels.The project is an initiative of a number of Australian universities and research providers, and is funded through a joint partnership between the National Water Commission and Land & Water Australia.

Australia has an ambitious agenda for water reform.

Key elements of the National Water Initiative (NWI), the country’s pre-eminent water policy, include water entitlements and planning framework, water markets and trading, integrated management of water for environmental and other public benefit outcomes, knowledge and capacity building, community partnerships and adjustment.

Water Planning is central to the achievement of sustainable water management.

The NWI places a great deal of emphasis on water planning as the core mechanism through which water resource management will be restructured, and sustainable and equitable water allocations achieved. Water planning is seen as ‘an important mechanism to assist governments and the community to determine water management and allocation decisions to meet productive environmental and social objectives’[1].

The findings from the pilots will lead to improvements in the way water plans are developed and implemented.

Tools and mechanisms will be developed and trialed in parallel with existing jurisdictional water planning processes to ensure they can be adopted and incorporated into individual state and territory water planning frameworks through the development of practical guides, websites, manuals, databases and seminars.

Expected Outcomes

This project aims to improve the certainty, legitimacy and efficiency of water planning processes across Australia. It will develop and trial a range of applied knowledge products in water planning including good practice tools, decision support systems and mechanisms targeted to address key issues in selected catchments.

A small multi-disciplinary team is working on this project. The project team comprises researchers from Griffith University, CSIRO, Sunshine Coast University and Charles Sturt University.

Individuals on the research team have well-established research and practical real-world track records in water research and natural resource management. Our wide ranging expertise in water includes legal, policy, social, economic, science including climate change with some of the best expertise in water and NRM planning, knowledge and adoption processes Australia wide.

This project will pilot tools in three planning processes in South Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory. The project team will work with stakeholders and government agencies to identify matters important to them in water plans and together will develop tools to address these matters. The tools may have been used elsewhere in similar situations.

Achievements: Results and Impact

This project will:

  • comprehensively identify the current gaps in implementing water planning processes in relation to the requirements of the National Water Initiative
  • develop good practice tools and mechanisms to address these gaps in a practical sense across all jurisdictions
  • provide important information for the benefit of water planning processes across all jurisdictions, and
  • lead to improvements in the way water plans are developed and implemented on the ground.

The project will improve water planning effort at two levels:

  • Nationally - by developing a tool-kit of good practices to engage industry, Indigenous and rural communities; by setting guidelines and benchmarks to monitor and evaluate collaboration in water planning; by establishing procedures that integrate Indigenous values into water planning.
  • Regionally - by assisting water agencies to improve water planning approaches; by helping to minimise conflicts between parties; by providing models and case studies for good collaboration; by helping develop stronger long-term relationships between stakeholders.

Lessons for Replication

Pilot Case Studies

South Australia

We will develop tools for water allocation planning in the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse (covering the River Murray and other associated watercourses). The plan area stretches along the river channel from the Victorian border down to and including Lakes Alexandrina and Albert.


The team will work with communities and agencies in pre-planning for groundwater resources of the Central Condamine River and Tributary Alluvium, which is an area located on the trunk floodplain and extending from near Pratten downstream to Warra-Jandowae. The groundwater resources of the area are extensively developed and used for a range of water supply purposes including irrigation, urban, commercial, industrial, stock intensive, aquaculture and stock/domestic.

Northern Territory

The team will develop tools to assist the development of the first water allocation plan for the Tiwi Islands, off the coast of Darwin. The islands are composed of Melville Island and Bathurst Island and are inhabited by the Tiwi. The Tiwi number around 2,500. Most residents speak Tiwi as their first language and English as a second language. The islands are held by the Tiwi Aboriginal Land Trust.

List of Planning Tools Trialled

  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Deliberative Multi-Criteria Evaluation
  • Agent-based Modeling (Concept)
  • Cultural Mapping
  • Participatory Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Groundwater Resources
  • Sea-Country Planning
  • Socio-Economic Impact Assessment
  • Irrigator Preference Surveys
  • Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluating Tools


  1. National Water Initiative, Council of Australian Governments (COAG). 2004. Canberra.

See also

Water planning

Australia: Country Profile


External Resources


 Wat001 brochure v15 small.pdf

11478 Rating: 2.3/5 (56 votes cast)