The Gnangara Mound Groundwater Resources proposal (Pinjar ground water extraction Stage 1) was proposed by the Water Authority of WA (WAWA) in 1986, assessed by the EPA as an Environmental Review and Management Programme (ERMP) and approved by the Minister for the Environment in 1988 subject to the Minister's Environmental Conditions. The ERMP addressed a range of issues concerning the overall management of ground water resources on the Gnangara Mound, taking into account the requirements for public and private water supplies and environmental considerations. The regional effects of groundwater abstraction were considered and a strategy for the development and management of the shallow ground water resources on the Mound were presented.
Since then, the understanding of wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain has increased significantly as a result of additional work on wetiand areas. This increase in knowledge has led the WAWA (now the Water and Rivers Commission (WRC)) to re-think its strategy with regard to wetlands. The WRC has proposed new criteria to protect the ecological values of groundwaterdependent vegetation. These criteria are aimed at allowing for continued groundwater abstraction while maintaining the ecological integrity of groundwater-dependent vegetation communities.
If environmental clearance to the proposed changes is given by the Minister for the Environment, and the new wetland criteria are adopted, the WRC propose to review water allocation quotas for particular areas on the Mound. The WRC also propose to review the land use and management strategies currently in place, to ensure adequate management of land use on the Gnangara Mound where that use has the potential to impact on groundwatcr quality. Accordingly, the WRC requests that the proposed changes be made to the current Environmental Conditions (Ministerial Statement 21), in accordance with Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
The WRC are also seeking approval to abstract an additional 1.5 million m3, of groundwater, to be allocated for public water supply. Approval for an additional three bores to allow this abstraction to occur is likely to be sought at a future date if approval for this additional abstraction is granted.