PURPOSE OF THE WATER RESOURCE PLAN (WRP):
- to define the availability of water in the plan area
- to provide a framework for sustainably managing water and the taking of water
- to identify priorities and mechanisms for dealing with future water requirements
- to provide a framework for establishing water allocations
- to provide a framework for reversing, where practicable, degradation that has occurred in natural ecosystems, including for example, stressed rivers.
GENERAL OUTCOMES OF THE WRP:
Water is to be managed and allocated:
- to ensure a reliable and secure supply of water from Awoonga Dam during the time this plan is in force
- to ensure the supply of regulated water in the area downstream of Awoonga Dam for agriculture and other small scale uses
- to allow water to be taken upstream of Awoonga Dam full supply level or from Awoonga Dam for:
- agriculture and other small scale uses
- urban needs
- to protect the probability of being able to obtain water under a water allocation.
ECOLOGICAL OUTCOMES OF THE WRP
River flows are to be managed:
1. to maintain existing habitats that sustain native plants and animals:
- associated with watercourses, waterholes and riparian zones upstream of Awoonga Dam full supply level or
- dependant on pool and associated riparian habitat in the freshwater reach downstream of Awoonga Dam and
2. to provide water for fine sediment removal and long term water quality suitable for:
- riverine ecosystems upstream of Awoonga Dam full supply level
- ecosystems downstream of Awoonga Dam
- to allow movement by marine and estuarine fish over or around the weir at Boyne River AMTD 17.2 km
- to provide water to stimulate reproductive processes for estuarine animals downstream of Awoonga Dam
- to provide water for delivery of catchment based nutrients from upstream of Awoonga Dam to the riverine and estuarine reaches downstream of the dam
- to allow river forming flows upstream of Awoonga Dam full supply level and in the riverine and estuarine reaches downstream of the dam
- to allow for an increase in the frequency and duration of marine conditions in the estuarine reach downstream of Awoonga Dam leading to a shift towards plant and animal species that favour or tolerate the increase.
RESOURCE OPERATIONS PLAN (ROP)
The Water Resource (Boyne River Basin) Plan incorporated several broad strategies to advance sustainable development and management of water within the Boyne River Basin.
Putting these strategies into action is a key role of the Boyne River Basin Resource Operations Plan. The draft Resource Operations Plan was modified where practicable, to accommodate comments received. The final Resource Operations Plan covers a range of matters including:
- how new water entitlements will be made available
- how existing entitlements will be amended
- how the raised Awoonga Dam will be operated
- how monitoring practices for water and natural ecosystems will be addressed.
The ROP puts the strategic framework specified through the Water Resource Plan into operation. It is by managing water and water infrastructure in accordance with the ROP that the outcomes of the Water Resource Plan will be achieved.
RESOURCE OPEATIONS LICENCE (ROL)
The Resource Operations Licence entitles the Gladstone Area Water Board to extract a certain amount of water from Awoonga Dam on the Boyne River.
Water allocation is linked to an estimate of the historic reliability of supply, and are based on the recorded and simulated stream flow in the Boyne River for the period from 1891 to 1997.
As part of the Resource Operations Licence, GAWB complies with the Boyne River Basin ROP which requires that GAWB carry out environmental releases in the form of base flows and also trigger flows. Base flows are intended to maintain the environment downstream of the dam.
Releases do not occur when the water level in Awoonga Dam is below 30m, therefore releases will cease if there is limited inflow into the dam and the level falls below 30m.