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MEDIA RELEASE: NTG blows it with Georgina Wiso Water Allocation Plan

Mparntwe Alice Springs 13/11/2023, updated 17/11/2023

The Northern Territory Government released the Georgina Wiso Water Allocation Plan (GWWAP) on Friday 10th November 2023 at 4pm. By allocating too much water, without any meaningful guidance on how or where this groundwater can be taken, the plan risks devastating impacts on the rivers, floodplains, landscapes and people in much of the Northern Territory, including the Roper River. The Arid Lands Environment Centre is deeply concerned about this dangerous plan.

Key points below:

● This GWWAP allocates too much water. It is the largest WAP allocation in the Territory’s
history, for 210 billion litres of water every year. Current water use in the region is less than 15
billion litres of water annually. This plan proposes to increase water extraction in the region by
● It threatens to drain rather than replenish the Roper and Flora rivers, along with other
groundwater dependent ecosystems that scientists are barely aware of.
● This announcement shows a complete disregard for prevailing science or community desires.
It has no social licence.
● It is a plan without any rules, prepared without the guidance of a Water Advisory Committee.
● The public’s submissions, including ALEC’s, have been ignored.
● The Government has bypassed standards of public accountability by not publishing a report
on communications and engagement.
● There is no guidance as to where and how groundwater can be taken. It makes a difference
to ecosystems and communities whether billions of litres of groundwater is extracted 100km
south of Tennant Creek or from somewhere north of Daly Waters!
● By gutting water allocation plans of any meaningful content, it risks unravelling the water
allocation plans we already have in place, and set’s a dangerous precedent. We do not need
more uncertainty and chaos in our already dysfunctional water licensing system.

Quotes Adrian Tomlinson CEO

“Put simply, the NTG has blown it. By being so cavalier in its enormous allocations, and not
stipulating how or where water is to be taken, the Georgina Wisp WAP fails to protect ecosystems or
give small irrigators any certainty that groundwater will be available for them.”

“The Northern Territory Government is avoiding scrutiny and the public accountability process. Unlike
other water allocation plans, there is no Water Advisory Committee and no published report on
Communications and Engagement.”

“This is a plan made to serve the hectic timelines of the gas industry but its consequences are far
wider reaching. We have handed over our water resources and environments to big agriculture and
big business.”

“We do not need more uncertainty and chaos in our already dysfunctional water licensing system.”
“The Minister must accept responsibility when water is bought back at taxpayer expense and
Aboriginal people and small irrigators are left behind.”

For comment:
Adrian Tomlinson CEO Arid Lands Environment Centre 0456 701 951

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