Many of Australia’s rivers have highly variable flows, and droughts and floods are common. For the world’s driest inhabited continent, water is a vital and highly valued resource. Our nation’s prosperity and future lie in managing water well, the well-being of our population and environment are dependent on its wise use.
Primary responsibility for water management lies with the state and territory governments. At the national level, the Australian Government provides leadership and resources to drive water reforms. This draws together many agencies, departments, state and regional organisations, as well as the community, working together for the sustainable management of Australia’s water resources.
The Department of the Environment and Water Resources recognises the unique characteristics of our surface and groundwater systems, and their vital contribution to the economic, social and environmental health of Australia and is acting to protect these key resources.
Under the National Water Initiative, the blueprint for Australia’s water reform, the Department has responsibility for matters specifically concerning environmental water. These include high conservation value ecosystems, groundwater dependent ecosystems and environmental water accounting. The department is also progressing urban water reforms including the continued implementation of the National Water Quality Management Strategy and the development and implementation of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme (WELS).
Working collaboratively, the Department develops and implements other Australian Government initiatives including policy, programmes and legislation, to assist in the sustainable management of our rivers, groundwater, and wetlands.