1.3.1.2 Compiling assets and developing the water-dependent asset register


1.3.1.2.1 Ecological assets

Asset information was provided by the former Namoi Catchment Management Authority – note that from 1 January 2014, in NSW CMAs transitioned into local land services (LLS) regions. However, as this CMA operated within the Namoi subregion when it was defined in 2012, these data have continued to be used. The data were delivered for compilation into the asset database via the BA-purpose-built Water Asset Information Tool (WAIT) database prepared by natural resource management organisations (NRMs) and contributions from those with expert local knowledge (Table 3). These NRM-nominated assets were added to the asset database. Data were also obtained from other national, state and regional authorities to complement the coverage of assets provided by the WAIT for the subregion.

An overview of the datasets used to determine the ecological assets for the Namoi subregion is shown in Table 4.

Table 3 Natural resource management organisations that contributed data to the Water Asset Information Tool database


Organisation

Description in asset register

Namoi Catchment Management Authority

WAIT_Namoi

Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority

WAIT_Border Rivers-Gwydir

Table 4 Data sources for ecological assets in the Namoi subregion


Dataseta

Organisation

Dataset citation

Elements

Assets

(asset lists)

Water Asset Information Tool database

NSW Regional Catchment Management Authority

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 2)

1,586

1,176

Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database (CAPAD)

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 3)

43

43

A directory of important wetlands in Australia (DIWA)

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 4)

50

1

Environmental Assets Database (EAD; Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder)

Department of the Environment (restricted access)

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 5)

4

4

Great Artesian Basin Groundwater Recharge

Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia (Dataset 6)

2

1

National atlas of groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDE Atlas)

Bureau of Meteorology

Bureau of Meteorology (Dataset 7)

Surface: 1,012

Subsurface: 17,778

Surface: 64

Subsurface: 618

Important Bird Areas (IBA)

Birdlife Australia

Birds Australia (Dataset 8)

2

2

Key Environmental Assets of the Murray-Darling Basin (KEA)

Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Murray-Darling Basin Authority (Dataset 9)

89

7

Threatened ecological species listed under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 10)

3,000

41

Threatened communities listed under the EPBC Act

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 11)

10,617

7

Ramsar wetlands of Australia

Department of the Environment

Australian Government of the Environment (Dataset 12)

0

0

Total

34,183

1,964

aThe asset database (Bioregional Assessment Programme, Dataset 1) is a collation of all these source datasets. Some assets may be captured in multiple databases

Within the asset database, each surface water, groundwater and vegetation polygon, line or point is an element and elements are grouped by class and by spatial location to create assets; each asset has a unique identifier (AID). For example, the Lake Goran ecological asset from the Directory of Important Wetlands (AID 3659) comprises 50 polygon elements, which is classed as a surface water feature in the wetland, wetland complex or swamp class. The Namoi River (AID 5070) ecological asset (as outlined in the key environmental assets data of the Commonwealth’s Basin Plan 2012) comprises 76 line elements and is classed as a surface water feature, in the river or stream reach, tributary, anabranch or bend class. In the groundwater features, the Narrabri Water Table Aquifer asset (AID 2988) comprises one polygon, which is in the aquifer, geological feature, alluvium or stratum class.

1.3.1.2.2 Economic assets

All economic assets are types of water access entitlements, either water access rights or basic water rights. In NSW, water access entitlements are known as ‘water access licences’. Within the asset database, every water access entitlement is an element. Elements are grouped by type and also spatially to create assets. Basic landholder rights (i.e. a type of basic water right), including riparian rights, maintain the right of those adjacent to rivers, estuaries, lakes or aquifers underlying the land to extract water for domestic and stock use without a water access licence. Basic landholder rights are defined by the jurisdiction based on the location of the water source and include an estimated volume of use based on the number of landholders with adjacent water sources. A fuller description of the process is given in the companion submethodology M02 (as listed in Table 1) for compiling water‑dependent assets (Mount et al., 2015).

Catchment areas were provided via the WAIT database and categorised as ‘A surface water feature used for water supply’. As the catchment area includes all water in the catchment, not just water used for supply, these elements and assets double count the detailed licensing data included under the water access rights and basic water rights. As detailed water access rights and basic water rights are already included in the assessment, catchment areas were not included as assets and are not registered for inclusion in any other BA component undertaken for the Namoi subregion and are not considered further.

For the economic assets, the water access entitlement assets are divided into two classes:

  • Basic water right (stock and domestic) – this is the right to take water for domestic and stock purposes only. A basic right for ‘take of groundwater’ requires approval for the works (bore) but does not require a licence for the extraction of groundwater. A basic right for ‘take of surface water’ does not require an approval for the works or approval for the extraction of surface water.
  • Water access right – this requires a licence both for the works and the extraction of the water. The extraction of the water can be for a range of purposes including irrigation, commercial, industrial, farming, dewatering, mining, intensive agriculture etc.

Licensing data were sourced from the NSW Office of Water to determine economic assets (NSW Office of Water, 2013). These data are currently not publically available and were obtained by special request. Consistent with how water licensing information is published under the Commonwealth’s Water Act 2007, this data will be published in an aggregated form. Data covered groundwater and surface water access licences, and their corresponding works locations. Data about basic landholder rights were sourced online from the publically available water sharing plans (NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014). Data sources for economic assets for the Namoi subregion are listed in Table 5.

In collating the economic elements, it was considered important to ensure no current or active water access entitlements were excluded, even where there was doubt about the current status of the entitlement, for example, ‘sleeper’ licences. For example, basic water rights (stock and domestic) do not have to be renewed on a frequent basis leading to some uncertainty about their current use status. This meant that only surface water and groundwater licences that were definitely 'abandoned', 'cancelled' or 'suspended' as at 20 November 2013 were marked as not 'current' or 'active' and therefore excluded for BA purposes. This also applied to any water access licences that did not have a corresponding works approval with location information. Where works (locations) information was present it was linked to the particular surface water or groundwater licences, and a count added to show how many works were associated with each licence. The volume of the licence was then equally split among the works to ensure that the licence volumes were not double-counted. A geographic information system (GIS) layer was derived using the spatial coordinates provided with the licensed work approvals. This spatial layer was overlain with the PAE for the Namoi subregion. The intersection of the two layers combined with the related attribute data gave a spatially explicit view of the active entitlements within the PAE, with a volume of surface water or groundwater attributed to each works.

The class of asset (as described in the asset submethodology (Mount et al., 2015)) was aggregated using the NSW Office of Water 'purpose' field which records the purpose that water is used for. Any purpose that was listed as ‘Domestic’ and/or ‘Stock’ was included in the class 'Basic water right’. Where ‘Stock’ and/or ‘Domestic’ was listed with another licensed purpose, it was listed as a 'Water access right'. 'Water access right' was based on anything that had an extractive use purpose such as, for example, commercial, irrigation, farming, industrial, or dewatering.

Each water access right licence can have one or multiple works associated with it, where the works is the location where the water is extracted through a bore or pump. The process assumed that each of the works associated with a licence extracts an equal share of the volume. Therefore if there is one groundwater licence of 80 ML/year that has four works (bores) associated with it, then 20 ML/year is assigned to each of those works. It is not possible to validate this assumption within the resources of the BA. It is possible that the majority of extraction occurs at a single works location and is not evenly distributed across all works associated with the licence. Only 2% of entitlements are split across multiple works for surface water and groundwater. The overall impact is very negligible, if at all.

Groundwater works that were not classified as a basic water right or a water access right were classed as ‘null’. These included test bores, bores installed for groundwater remediation, exploratory bores, exploratory research, monitoring bores and waste disposal bores. These elements are ‘flagged’ in the asset database and are not included in the water‑dependent asset register.

Table 5 Data sources for economic assets in the Namoi subregion


Dataseta

Organisation

Dataset citation

Elements

Assets

(asset list)

Ground water points

(+ additional polygons x1) Economic_GW

NSW Office of Water; Bureau of Meteorology

Bioregional Assessment Programme (Dataset 13), Bureau of Meteorology (Dataset 14)

8,954

53

Surface water points

(+ additional polygons x2)

Economic_SW

NSW Office of Water; Bureau of Meteorology

Bioregional Assessment Programme (Dataset 15), NSW Office of Water (Dataset 16)

1,467

39

Regulated Rivers

Economic_RegRiv

NSW Office of Water; Bureau of Meteorology

NSW Office of Water (Dataset 17)

3

3

Groundwater Macro Plans

Economic_GWMP

NSW Office of Water; Bureau of Meteorology

NSW Office of Water (Dataset 17)

26

26

Water Sharing Plans (GW+SW)

Economic_WSP

NSW Office of Water; Bureau of Meteorology

NSW Office of Water (Dataset 17)

47

47

Total

10,497

168

aThe asset database (Bioregional Assessment Programme, Dataset 1) is a collation of all these source datasets. Some assets may be captured in multiple databases. These replicates are retained in the asset register as boundaries may differ between databases.

1.3.1.2.3 Sociocultural assets

Some sociocultural data were provided by the former Namoi Catchment Management Authority, some have been sourced from the Australian Heritage Database (Department of the Environment, 2013) (Table 6) and some information about Indigenous heritage sites have been sourced from the NSW Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (Environment and Heritage, 2013).

Table 6 Data sources for sociocultural assets in the Namoi subregion


Dataseta

Organisation

Dataset citation

Elements

Assets

(asset list)

Register of the National Estate (RNE)

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 18)

40

40

National Heritage List

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 19)

1

1

Commonwealth Heritage List

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 20)

0

0

World Heritage List

Department of the Environment

Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 21)

0

0

Total

41

41

aThe asset database (Bioregional Assessment Programme, Dataset 1) is a collation of all these source datasets. Some assets may be captured in multiple databases. These replicates are retained in the asset register as boundaries may differ between databases.

Meetings have been held with Indigenous knowledge holders in the Namoi subregion to gain further understanding of Indigenous cultural water-dependent assets. Where possible and appropriate, and with the agreement of Indigenous knowledge holders, these additional Indigenous water-related values will be published in a separate report. Identified assets will be incorporated into an updated water-dependent asset register and/or incorporated into later technical products.

Last updated:
5 January 2018