STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PLAN
The Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan was released by the GAB Consultative Council in September 2000. It brought together a range of views and needs from across the Basin, and provided a comprehensive framework within which State, Territory and Australian governments could coordinate the management of Basin resources.
This document was particularly significant in that the Council and its stakeholders were dealing with more than a century of mismanagement of the Basin. Even in the early 1900s, it was realised that extraction and use of waters from the Basin was unsustainable. This realisation led to the first Interstate Conference on Artesian Water which was held in 1912.
It took until 1939 for the Conference to recognise that water wastage from free-flowing bores was a major problem, at which point the Conference members commissioned a report to investigate the nature and structure of the Basin.
This report was completed in 1945; however, it was not until 1954 that the Artesian Water Investigations Committee provided a published report, which was addressed separately in each State. This disjointed approach was not the optimal way to manage a resource spanning three States and the Northern Territory.
The Strategic Management Plan represents the first 'whole-of-Basin' Management Plan adopted by all governments responsible for Great Artesian Basin management. With agreed commitment from respective governments, the 15-year plan will guide water managers, users and other stakeholders on policies, programs and actions necessary to attain optimum economic, environmental and social benefits from the existence and use of the Basin's groundwater resources.
The Strategic Management Plan was developed through a consultative process involving representatives on the Council, State and Territory advisory bodies and community stakeholders. The context and content of the Plan was the result of a collaborative effort by these individuals and groups, addressed through a series of workshops and discussion papers.
The Plan also incorporated national policy principles on groundwater management, sustainability and biodiversity, and complemented State and Territory water resource legislation. This helps to ensure that Basin-wide considerations and principles are kept in focus during detailed planning and implementation at the State, Territory and regional level.