Objective 1 – Water allocation and use does not exceed sustainable water supply capacity.
- Ensure that sustainable planning and management of water resource volumes incorporates environmental values as well as pressures from climate change, increased demand and development.
Note: water planning includes adequate reserves for the welfare of stock animals and domestic purposes during extended dry conditions.
- Investigate and promote more efficient bulk water supply to irrigators in the Lower Burdekin.
- When developing sustainable planning and water restriction policies, include adopting water efficient technology as a common practice. For example: leak detection, evaporation reduction and irrigation application efficiency.
- When planning any expansion of surface water supply and its associated infrastructure, to the Bowen Gumlu Growing District, consider potential adverse impacts on soil, groundwater interactions and the Great Barrier Reef.
- Investigate crops and cropping practices that align more productively with the sustainable use of local natural resources.
Objective 2 – Efficient water use practices are used.
- Support the investigation, promotion and implementation of water efficient technology and management techniques to reduce urban, rural and industrial water use. For example: Urban use – automated leak detection. Rural use – for cropping lands, closely manage irrigation efficiency at a farm scale; and for grazing land, maximize rainfall infiltration through improved groundcover and appropriate water storage infrastructure.
- Identify barriers that prevent the implementation of best practice water and land management; and develop and implement mitigation options to promote practice change.
Note: this should include acknowledging the link soil science has with water availability.
Objective 3 – Environmental flow characteristics are maintained for the health of natural ecosystems.
- Investigate and manage the effects of excess drainage water travelling through water supply systems.
- Manage environmental flow allocations in a way that provides for necessary drying and wet seasonal flushes, as required by dry tropical wetland ecosystems. For example: allocate supplemented water so that it is delivered in a manner that is sustainable to receiving environments.
Objective 4 – Groundwater resources are maintained at optimal levels.
- Monitor and maintain groundwater at appropriate baseline depth/levels, for sub-artesian areas that are in demand for groundwater resources.
- Maintain a salt export bore head plan in locations where demand for groundwater resources are high and may impact on neighbouring bores.
- Investigate groundwater vulnerability to potential pollution when undertaking land use planning and development design.
- Promote and implement improved water delivery and management techniques in sub-artesian areas, to reduce the impact of changes in groundwater table levels and salinity. For example: using variable flow pumps; irrigating only during required periods, and dewatering.
Objective 5 – Suspended sediment and nutrient loads, pesticide concentrations and other contaminants are managed to meet the WQIP ecologically relevant targets and Reef 2050 Plan targets.
- Coordinate and maintain a network to share information between those involved with researching, monitoring, managing and using water resources, including:
- land holders;
- NRM Groups;
- researchers; and
- state and local government officers.
- Support the development of, and promote, innovative technology and methods for improving the quality of water entering and leaving waterways and wetlands.
- Investigate, trial and implement cost-effective best management practices to:
- remediate, control and prevent gully erosion in dry tropical climates in the Bowen catchment;
- reduce nutrient and pesticide loads from cane lands in the Lower Burdekin catchment.
- Develop, adopt and continually improve best practice methods for avoiding and mitigating point source and diffuse water contamination.
- Support land managers to implement best management practices to conserve water resources and incorporate environmental outcomes into their management systems. For example: capturing nutrient and herbicide runoff from crop land and adopting sustainable grazing land management practices to reduce runoff and increase infiltration.
- Establish a systems repair and prevention approach for the wider NRM community to address holistic sub-catchment issues, and what is needed to restore and maintain healthy coastal wetland ecosystem function. For example: managing black water events to prevent fish kills, fish barrier remediation, and wetland rehabilitation.
- Maintain a coordinated multi-stakeholder water quality monitoring programme for our region, which includes the monitoring and assessment of:
- water quality (including nutrients, sediments, pesticides and salinity);
- geomorphologic processes; and
- wetland and riparian condition, and aquatic biodiversity.
For example: regional partnerships investigate low-cost sensing opportunities for fine grade data on water quality.
Objective 6 – Health of freashwater aquatic ecosystems are known and protected.
- Conduct catchment scale land capability and in-stream health monitoring and planning.
Resource condition and management targets identified in our regional WQIPs are achieved.
The water quality targets and objectives in Reef 2050 Plan are achieved.
By or before 2026:
- there is a reduction in per capita water use.
- there are no reported exceedances of ANZEC water quality guidelines across the region.