Government approval of policy/process development.
That in relation to the Beetaloo Sub-basin:
- the Daly-Roper WCD be extended south to include all of the Beetaloo Sub-basin;
- that WAPs be developed for each of the northern and southern regions of the Beetaloo Sub-basin;
- the new northern Sub-basin WAP provides for a water allocation rule that restricts the consumptive use to less than that which can be sustainably extracted without having adverse impacts on other users and the environment; and
- the southern Sub-basin WAP prohibits water extraction for any onshore shale gas production until the nature and extent of the groundwater resource and recharge rates in that area are quantified.
That in relation to other shale gas basins with similar or greater rainfall rates than the Beetaloo Sub-basin, WCDs be declared and WAPs be developed to specify substantial groundwater extraction rates for shale gas production activities that will not have adverse impacts on existing users and the environment.
That in relation to other potential shale gas basins in semi-arid and arid regions, all groundwater extraction for any shale gas production activities be prohibited until there is sufficient information to demonstrate that it will have no adverse impacts on existing users and the environment.
To be completed by end December 2021.
Action item updates
The Minister for Environment and Natural Resources extended the Daly-Roper Water Control District (WCD) to include the Beetaloo Sub-basin in July 2018 and has been renamed the Daly Roper Beetaloo Water Control District.
The Department or Environment and Natural Resources will develop Water Allocation Plans (WAPs) for the northern and southern regions of the Beetaloo Sub–basin. This will include developing an estimated sustainable yield, which will guide licensing decisions for water extraction. A Water Advisory Committee (WAC) will be established for each plan area.
WCDs, WAPs and WACs will be established for other areas prospective for gas activity as they are identified for potential development.
Further information about WCDs, WAPs and WACs is at https://denr.nt.gov.au/land-resource-management/water/water-information-systems/water-licensing-portal