Directory : Water Directory 2013
Water Directory 2013 PAGE 73 Water Legislation (Source: www.environment.gov.au) The key elements of Commonwealth water legislation in Australia are: • Water Act 2007 • Water Amendment Act 2008 • Water Regulations • Water charge and water market rules Other water legislations: • Water Effciency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Water Act 2007: The Water Act 2007 commenced on 3 March 2008 and implemented key reforms for water management in Australia. The key features of the Act are: • Establishment of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) with the functions and powers, including enforcement powers, needed to ensure that Basin water resources are managed in an integrated and sustainable way. • The MDBA is required to prepare the Basin Plan – a strategic plan for the integrated and sustainable management of water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin. • Establishment of a Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to manage the Commonwealth’s environmental water to protect and restore the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin, and outside the Basin where the Commonwealth owns water. • The Act provides the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with a key role in developing and enforcing water charge and water market rules along the lines agreed in the National Water Initiative. The Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is required to seek, and have regard to, advice from the ACCC in making, amending or revoking the water charge and market rules. The ACCC is also responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the rules once they have been made. The Act gives the Bureau of Meteorology water information functions that are in addition to its existing functions under the Meteorology Act 1955. Water Management Before the Water Act 2007 For more than a century our greatest system of rivers and aquifers, the Murray-Darling Basin, was managed between five States and Territories, each of which had competing interests. The River Murray Waters Agreement was signed in 1914 by New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and established the River Murray Commission (which later became the Murray-Darling Basin Commission). The resulting governance model required the agreement of all Basin jurisdictions before anything could be done by the Commission. These arrangements have remained largely unchanged until the commencement of the Water Act, hindering reform and encouraging decision making that was not in the interest of the Basin as a whole.
Water Directory 2014