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  • Lynn Gabriel

Water Policy Review

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Water policies review

The WAPC, has reviewed the State’s water planning policy framework and released Draft State Planning Policy 2.9 Planning for Water (SPP 2.9) and Planning for Water Guidelines for public comment.

Draft SPP 2.9 and Guidelines will help streamline and simplify the current planning framework to deliver greater clarity around how water-related provisions are implemented.

Once gazetted, it is intended that SPP 2.9 and Guidelines will replace water-related policies including State Planning Policy 2.9 Water resources.

Water Policy Review Background and some Q & A

In 2017 a series of meetings were held with government and non-government stakeholders to discuss the effectiveness of water-related SPPs and identify any gaps and issues. Through this process it was identified that the current water policy framework was outdated, complex and needed to better respond to anticipated impacts from population growth, changing climate, differing land uses and economic trends.


Planning for water resources at later planning stages such as subdivision or development can make it difficult to achieve good water management outcomes. For example, if land is identified as unsuitable for onsite sewerage purposes at the scheme amendment or structure plan stage, then it may remove complications at later planning stages, such as removing the issue of lots being unable to accommodate the required land application area. Water management should be addressed at all stages of the planning process, with each stage outlining overarching water-related matters for the next stage. By the time a subdivision is proposed, integration into the surrounding areas should be seamless, based on the information provided in the structure plan and scheme amendment that has preceded it. This emphasises the importance of proponents engaging with local government and water providers and relevant agencies at the start of a project. Nevertheless, application of the policy and the detail required at each stage of planning is directly relevant to the scale and location of a proposal, as well as risk to, and from, water resources.

WHY DO LOCAL STRUCTURE PLANS AND PRECINCT PLANS ALWAYS REQUIRE A WATER MANAGEMENT REPORT? Lodgement of a local structure plan or precinct plan (including masterplans and activity centre plans) is typically the first major milestone of a design process that responds to site conditions to locate and size public open spaces, set out lot and road layouts and design the necessary systems and infrastructure that will service the future development. Water planning and design is a critical element of this process and requires design of conceptual ‘whole of development’ water management systems and strategies to guide detailed designs that may be developed stage-by-stage. For this reason, local structure plans and precinct plans must always be supported by a water management report which addresses the entire proposal area.

Information taken from the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage FAQ - see here for more information

Public comment is now open. Have your say and submit your comments before 15th Nov here

You can also attend the upcoming Water Quality and Health Network event with presenters from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage on 4th November 2021 at Crown Perth from 10.00am - 3.30pm should you have any comment or questions prior to submission or to remain updated. You can see further information on that event here

Have your Q & A ready for the Speaker panel in advance and hear direct from the Department of Planning , Lands and Heritage as well as the Department of Health's Water Unit

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