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Strategic Management Plan


Development of a new Strategic Management Plan

Work has commenced on the development of a new Strategic Management Plan (the Plan) for the Great Artesian Basin (the Basin) and is expected to be completed in 2017. As part of the development of the new plan a consultation process will occur in early 2017.

The Plan will be developed by the Australian government, state and territory governments, the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee (the Committee), national organisations, landholders and water users.

Further information on the​ development of the Plan can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Comments or issues on the management of the Great Artesian Basin can be sent to

Fact sheet

Strategic Management Plan Review 2015

A review of the Plan, Future Directions for the Management of the Great Artesian Basin, was completed in August 2015. The review was conducted in consultation with state and territory governments and the Committee. It highlights a range of achievements in Basin management over the past 15 years and identifies both ongoing and new emerging issues for the Basin.

Future Directions for the Management of the Great Artesian Basin will inform the development of the new Plan.

A paper on water management within the Basin has been developed to assist in discussions on the future management of the Basin.

GAB Futures Workshop

The GAB Futures Workshop was held in August 2013 and developed five key indicators to assist in the identification of the Basin's health. The indicators included water flow and quality, aquifer pressure, ecological values, social values and economic values.

Strategic Management Plan Review 2006

Following a review of the Plan by the Committee in 2006, two complementary documents were developed.

Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan: Progress and Achievements to 2008 - a retrospective analysis capturing progress and achievements to 2008 and changes in context which have taken place since 2000 and their implications for Basin management

Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan: Focus and Prospects 2008-2015 - defining a sharper focus for implementing the SMP during the period 2008-2015, and in particular those elements most affected by changes which have taken place since 2000.

The Strategic Management Plan

The Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan was released by the Great Artesian Basin Consultative Council (the Council) September 2000. It brought together a range of views and needs from across the Basin, and provided a comprehensive framework within which Australian, state and territory governments could coordinate the management of Basin resources.

The Plan represents the first 'whole-of-Basin' management plan adopted by all governments responsible for Basin management. With agreed commitment from respective governments, the 15-year plan will guide water managers, users and other stakeholders on policies, programs and actions necessary to attain optimum economic, environmental and social benefits from the existence and use of the Basin's groundwater resources.

This document was particularly significant in that the Council and its stakeholders were dealing with more than a century of mismanagement of the Basin. Even in the early 1900s, it was realised that extraction and use of waters from the Basin was unsustainable. This realisation led to the first Interstate Conference on Artesian Water which was held in 1912.

The Plan was develo​ped through a consultative process involving representatives on the Council, state and territory advisory bodies and community stakeholders. The context and content of the Plan was the result of a collaborative effort by these individuals and groups, addressed through a series of workshops and discussion papers.

The Plan also incorporated national policy principles on groundwater management, sustainability and biodiversity, and complemented State and Territory water resource legislation. This helps to ensure that Basin-wide considerations and principles are kept in focus during detailed planning and implementation at the state, territory and regional level.