Archived: Drought Management Plans

Drought Management Plans (DMPs) were introduced as a mandatory requirement for all urban Water Service Providers in 2005. DMPs include aspects of pre-drought water conservation planning including permanent water restrictions and water saving initiatives. They also outline the restrictions and actions to be implemented during various trigger points during a drought and when these should be lifted.

qldwater created a template with detailed guidelines (with advice and assistance provided by the Regulator) to help WSPs complete their DMPs. These guidelines align with and extend on the Guidelines developed by the Regulator.

The process for creating a Drought management Plan is specified under the legislation and must include:

  • community consultation;
  • designation of responsibilities of internal officers of the Water Service Provider;
  • consideration of implication of restrictions and other conservation measures on sensitive consumers and businesses.

Summary Facts

Mandatory Yes (with exemptions).
Relevant Period 2006 - 2014
Exemptions If >70% of water sourced from desalination or Great Artesian Basin (s 126).
Penalty Provisions - 200 penalty units for not completing.
- 200 penalty units for not complying with completed DMP
Legislation Chapter 2, Part 4, Division 6, Section 123
>Approved No (WSP approves customer's WEMP)
>Reporting None.

When are they required?

DMPs were required by July 2006, July 2007 and July 2008 respectively for large, medium and small Service Provider prior to local government amalgamations. Amalgamated councils were required to complete a DMP for all their schemes one year following amalgamation (i.e. by March 2009). 

Compliance with DMP requirements has never been widespread and in late 2009, the Act was amended to replace the original penalty for non-compliance (i.e. the name of non-compliant councils would be tabled in Parliament) was replaced with 200 penalty units. With the end of the 'Millennium Drought' the emphasis on drought management was much reduced and in mid 2010 the Regulator began to consider removal of mandatory DMPs. In mid 2012 this period of consideration was still underway. 


Section 122 provides that the DMP requirement does not apply to Water Service Providers that only supply drainage services or where they supply water services to a customer who holds a water entitlement (such as a water allocation holder). Exemptions can be sought from the Regulator under section 126 and are granted if it can be demonstrated that more than 70% of the water sourced for the supply is not directly dependent on rainfall (e.g. desalination and Great Artesian Basin). 

Interaction with Other Plans and Regulatory Requirements

Section 123 provides that a DMP can be part of another document so long as all of the requirements are fulfilled. 

Relevant Documents

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