Challenges for the management of water resources in Western Australia : a legal response to findings of the public sector performance report, 2003

Alex Gardner, A. Roberts

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In September 2003, the Auditor General of Western Australia released a report concerning the performance of the Water and Rivers Commission1 (Commission) in a number of key areas relating to its responsibilities as Western Australia's principal agency for managing the State's water resources.2 The Auditor General's report (Audit Report) identified a number of "major challenges" confronting water resources management in Western Australia. These challenges arise in relation to water resources investigation and assessment, water resources planning and the licensing and regulation of the taking and use of water resources. The concerns identified in each of these areas raise significant questions regarding the Commission's administrative and statutory capacity to fulfil its water resources management responsibilities. This article examines the concerns raised in the Audit Report, considers the implications for water resources management in Western Australia and examines the extent to which the challenges result from limitations imposed by the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 (WA) (RiWI Act). Also considered is what legislative reforms may assist in addressing these challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-54
JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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