Beneficial uses: water resources

Declared beneficial use areas

You can give input into the beneficial use declaration process as part of public consultation on the values and uses of a water resource that should be protected.

How a beneficial use is declared

One or more of the beneficial use categories can be chosen for a water resource. 

Each beneficial use has water quality guidelines based on scientific evidence or judgement.

The guidelines help protect, maintain and achieve a high water quality for the long term.

Once agreed on, the beneficial use and guidelines are declared under the Water Act. Read the law.

After beneficial uses and guidelines are declared, a management plan can be developed. 

This can result in an aim to improve the current water conditions, achieve different water quality in parts of a catchment or recognise that a water resource can't achieve a certain quality in the short term.

A waste discharge licence can also be issued after beneficial uses are declared if it is needed to protect a water resource against unwanted water quality impacts.

Read more about waste discharge licences and other environmental approvals and licences.

Declared areas

Beneficial uses have been declared in all of the following areas:

  • Alice Springs water control district
  • Coomalie Creek Catchment
  • Copperfield Creek
  • Crater Lake
  • Darwin and Blackmore Rivers groundwater
  • Darwin Harbour Region
  • Darwin River Dam
  • Edith River
  • Elizabeth and Howard Rivers groundwater
  • Fog Bay Area
  • Gove Area Marine Waters
  • Great Artesian Basin
  • Groote Eylandt Area
  • Howley Creek surface water
  • Katherine Area groundwater
  • Katherine River and Tribulations
  • Mary River surface water and groundwater
  • McArthur River Area
  • McKinlay River
  • Mount Bundy Creek
  • Ryan Creek
  • Settlement Creek tributaries
  • Shoal Bay - Vernon Islands Area
  • Ti Tree water control district.

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Last updated: 17 August 2017