Water and Wetlands
What would we (the community) like water and wetlands to look like in twenty years?
Community input into the NRM Plan included considerable public consultation and input into the goals for catchment management including inferred values and objectives for water quality and aquatic ecosystem health (QMDC 2004). The NRM Plan incorporates previous work done on water quality management planning including the determinations of The Condamine-Balonne Water Quality Management Plan (CBWC 2002; QMDC 2004).
Throughout 2011 and 2012 extensive consultation was undertaken by QMDC to affirm and refine Environmental Values and Objectives for waters in the Maranoa-Balonne, Moonie and Border Rivers (QMDC 2012). The overarching management goals coming from the Environmental Values surveys (QMDC 2012a) and the 2004 NRM Plan endorsed in survey responses were to:
- Maintain or improve surface waters and ground waters (and aquatic ecosystems) for continued use for:
- Human uses (cultural and spiritual values, human consumption, primary recreation, secondary recreation, visual appreciation and raw drinking water),
- Agricultural and industry uses (irrigating crops, stock watering, farm use and industrial use), and
- Environmental uses (aquatic ecosystems)
- Enhanced community capacity and involvement in the management of waters and of associated threats.
The Land and Water technical panel workshop explored these goals for Water and Wetlands and workshop proceedings were collated to develop the following objectives:
- the integrity and function of the Plan area water assets and connected systems are maintained and improved,
- water assets and values are protected from threatening processes and impacts,
- water assets are managed for optimal production, ecological and cultural use while maintaining system values,
- minimise impacts of infrastructure to water asset integrity and function, and
- enhanced community capacity and involvement in the management of water assets and associated threats.
These Management Goals and Objectives reflect Aspirational Targets of the 2004 NRM Plan including:
- Riverine, Floodplain and Water Quality Aspirational Targets of:
- Achieve and maintain healthy riverine ecosystems across the regions by 2035
- Improve water quality for key catchments to meet water quality targets by 2035
- All regionally significant wetlands are maintained in current or better condition by 2035;
- Community Capacity Aspirational Target of:
- Increased awareness, education, capacity and participation in planning and management of Natural Resource use;
- Water Aspirational Targets of:
- Groundwater is sustainability managed for long term environmental, production and social values by 2035
- Surface water is sustainability managed for long term environmental, production and social values by 2035; and
- Aboriginal Interests and Cultural Assets Targets of:
- Traditional Owner Groups and Aboriginal communities fully engaged in NRM planning and implementation by 2025
- Cultural and contemporary Knowledge and interests of traditional owners is widely recognised and effectively integrated by 2015 (QMDC 2004).
Management Goals and Objectives also reflect the objectives of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (Basin Plan).
“The outcome for the Basin Plan as a whole is a healthy and working Murray-Darling Basin that includes:
(a) communities with sufficient and reliable water supplies that are fit for a range of intended purposes, including domestic, recreational and cultural use; and
(b) productive and resilient water-dependent industries, and communities with confidence in their long term future; and Chapter 5—Management objectives and outcomes to be achieved by Basin Plan Section 5.03 Objectives and outcome in relation to environmental outcomes 24 Basin Plan
(c) healthy and resilient ecosystems with rivers and creeks regularly connected to their floodplains and, ultimately, the ocean.” (MDBA 2012b)