Photograph: Hinze Dam, by Phill Cullen

Water is foundational to healthy ecosystems and their services that in turn support our healthy society, economy, cultures, and way of life.

But how is our water managed? The Gold Coast Water Plan was developed almost twenty years ago and is currently under review.

Key areas of this State legislation need improving to govern more sustainable management of water both for a growing Gold Coast population and to support a healthy environment.

What can you do?

Send your thoughts in a short email to the Department officers undertaking the Water Plan (Gold Coast) 2006 review.

You can simply use our template (below) or write briefly about your personal concerns. See Gecko’s info in this post about what areas are covered by a Water Plan and what our conservation group is advocating to improve.

Send your email to:

RE: Review of Water Plan (Gold Coast) 2006
Water Plan review team

In writing your own email you may wish to consider:

  • What is important to you about sustainably managing Gold Coast water?
  • Are you concerned about commercial extraction from mountain aquifers?
  • Would you like flows in waterways to be regulated for the health of both environment and people?
  • Would you like to see more water demand management, eg. public education about water use and efficiency?

Gecko’s email template (please copy and adjust):

Dear Water Plan review team,

I am writing regarding the review of the Water Plan (Gold Coast) 2006.

I am personally concerned about [add your concern].

For the health of our waterways for future generations I support the submission made by Gecko Environment Council, who seeks to ensure at a minimum that;

  • Groundwater is regulated and managed for cultural values and ecological sustainability
  • Water take from overland flows is regulated and restrictions put in place when flows decrease
  • The earthworks threshold in waterways is reduced
  • Scientific and culturally informed, adaptive and regenerative approaches to water management are undertaken
  • Ongoing consultation and transparency occurs with community, including First Nations people across the Plan area

I strongly hope the new Water Plan for the Gold Coast will have clear mechanisms to sustainably manage water with the emerging issues and changing years ahead.

Yours Sincerely,

[Your name, address, contact]

About the Gold Coast Water Plan

The Gold Coast’s Water Plan 2006 governs water use, intending to ensure ongoing water supply for the Gold Coast population, and maintain sufficient water flows to support healthy ecosystems.

The review of the Plan seeks to address current and emerging issues in the region, which may include increasing water demand and climatic changes.

The Plan also governs water allocations, allowing for certain decisions to made, such as licenses for commercial water extraction and restrictions on taking water from waterholes and lakes.

The Gold Coast’s Water Plan area includes the Pimpama River, Coomera River, Nerang River, Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek and spans 1300 square kilometres.

Gold Coast water plan: Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water

Gecko Environment Council’s recommendations to improve the GC Water Plan

Demand for water is increasing, along with water extraction for domestic and commercial use. This reduces water flows in the catchments, ephemeral creeks and rivers and subsequently impacts on water quality, flora and fauna. The changing climate is also disrupting seasonal flows, extending dry periods and increasing large rain events.

Other local groups engaged in this review include Protect Our Waters, Queensland Conservation Council, Watergum and bushcare/landcare groups who actively care for habitats and waterways in our region.

To sustainably manage the use of water in the region, at a minimum this Plan needs to address commercial extraction of mountain aquifers and unallocated taking of water from creeks through the region. In brief, on consulting with the community Gecko’s recommendations are:

  • Include groundwater, overland flows and transboundary flows in the Plan
  • Ensure ecological sustainability of existing groundwater extraction
  • Genuine and ongoing engagement with First Nations people across the Plan area
  • Limits be imposed on water extraction when flow thresholds are reached, based on environmental indicators to sustain health of waterways
  • Provide funding for monitoring and compliance of water extraction
  • Significantly reduce the earthworks threshold in waterways
  • Adopt an adaptive management approach to respond to change through the Plan’s timeframe
  • Adopt a regenerative approach to actively recover and support diverse environmental and cultural values
  • Initiate a transparent, publicly accessible reporting of water data and Plan outcomes

Read Gecko’s full Submission to the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water on the Water Plan (Gold Coast) 2006 here Gecko_GCWaterPlan_ReviewSubmission_PDF