Mary Basin Water Plan – Get involved

Mary Basin Water Plan – Get Involved!

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The Mary Basin Water Plan is the State Government document which outlines the way water is managed in the Mary Catchment. It was enacted in 2006, (in the midst of the political interference that accompanied the Traveston Crossing Dam debacle). Although due for renewal in 2016, it was extended several times and was due to expire in September 2021.  However, it has now been extended again until 2024, but the Minister has announced that it will be significantly re-made during this time and has initiated a process of public consultation.  Initial public submissions concerning the new plan are due at the end of this month.

ANYONE can make a submission – if you have a valid concern about the way water is managed in the Mary Basin area, then please make the effort to send in a simple written submission outlining your concerns.

The government has identified many shortcomings in the current plan such as:

  • changes in the future projected demand for unallocated water
  • limited ability of the plan to provide for future agricultural expansion, including new largescale projects and individual property-level enterprises
  • lack of flexibility of the plan to provide for changes to water sharing and environmental management rules
  • climate impacts on water security due to the Millennium drought period not captured in the current hydrologic model
  • new science collected since 2006 that needs to be incorporated into the plan, including updated information on the water needs of threatened species (Mary River turtle, Mary River cod and Queensland lungfish)
  • a need for further consultation with water users and Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to better understand current and emerging cultural water needs in the plan area.

Local groups have identified problems with water management under the plan, eg:

  • A completely unrealistic ‘strategic reserve’ of an additional 150 billion litres of water per year written into the plan for the purpose of supplying even more water to SEQ in future.
  • Converting current area-based irrigation entitlements to volumetric allocations will result in a massive over-allocation of water and very unreliable water allocations.
  • The Mary is seen as a ‘Magic Pudding’ water resource… expected to supply more and more water out of the catchment to prop up huge urban growth in SEQ, at the same time providing very large changes in water demand for horticulture in the lower catchment, increased urban demand within the catchment (eg Gympie), maintain freshwater flows into the Great Sandy Straits at the end of the system and environmental flows all the way down for its absolutely unique freshwater species. All at a time when the streamflow resource is expected to fall significantly in coming decades.
  • Water quality can fail well before water sources dry up.

In your submission, ask the minister to set up a Community Reference Panel to liaise with government during the rewrite of the plan. Remember that even if your submission only addresses a single issue that is important to you (eg. water issues in your local area) it is a worthwhile contribution to the process.

The following links provide further information:

Minister’s Performance Assessment Report – Water Plan (Mary Basin) 2006 – April 2019

The Need For Environmental Flows To The Great Sandy Strait – Tanzi Smith, Greater Mary Association Inc., Glenda Pickersgill, Save the Mary River Coordinating Group Inc.

Listen to Glenda Pickersgill speak of her life-long association with the Mary River

Submissions are due by 30 July 2021.

To make a submission on water planning aspects within the Mary Basin water plan area that you feel need addressing please use the following:
• email waterplanning.mary@rdmw.qld.gov.au
• telephone 07 5352 4216
• or by post to
Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water
Chief Executive
Water Services South Region
Attention: Senior Project Officer
LMB 383
Gympie QLD 4570