Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Water Allocation Plan

The water allocation plan for the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges guides fair and sustainable management of water resources across the region. 

The plan was developed by the community based SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board with input from landholders, scientists and all three levels of government, and was adopted in 2013.

This plan covers the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges prescribed area and incorporates the Angas Bremer Prescribed Wells Area. See the below links for maps of the area.


Licences for existing users have been rolled out across the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges, and we are now working on implementing other areas of the water allocation plan. Some of the key areas being addressed are listed below.

Securing Low Flows

The Securing Low Flows project is a major element of water management policy in the Mount Lofty Ranges. It aims to give the 74 catchments across the Mount Lofty Ranges small amounts of water at critical times in the seasonal cycle, while maintaining current water allocations. Under the program, low flows below certain threshold flow rates will be required to pass downstream of some dams and diversions in order to maintain catchment health.

Find out more about the Securing Low Flows project.

The Securing Low Flows project is being implemented in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges through the Flows for the Future program.

Managing high demand 

In some areas of the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges the demand for water is higher than the amount of water available for extraction and use. These are called high demand zones.

In these high demand zones there is concern that water resources are declining in quantity and quality, or at serious risk that they will be if all licence holders use their full water allocations. 

The goal for managing high demand zones is to bring the demand for water back towards sustainable limits in a way that has the least impact to the environment, businesses and the community. The community will be invited to get involved and help define the most appropriate strategies to achieve this goal.

Find out more about managing high demand.

Water trade

In the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges, all water from groundwater, surface (dam) water and watercourse water sources that is used for any purpose other than stock and domestic use and other exempted purposes such as firefighting, requires a licence and allocation.

A water licence is a personal asset that is separate from the land and can be sold or traded to others.

Granting new allocations is currently restricted, however an allocation can be acquired by trading (transferring) from someone with an existing licence and allocation.

Further information about water trade in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges can be found here.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluating the condition of water resources is an important activity in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges. We use this data to track the health of the water resource and make decisions about how the resource is managed.

Reports and data on water resources can be found on the WaterConnect website.

Water licensees are periodically asked to provide information such as groundwater samples for salinity testing, meter reads and water use information .

Find out more about participating in community based monitoring on your property.


For most licence holders, it is a condition of your licence to meter your water sources. Find out more about:

Licensing and permitting

All licences to existing water users have now been rolled out in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges. More information on water licences, allocations and transfers is available here, or else contact Water Licensing on 8595 2053. 

If you are planning an activity that could impact on a water resource or ecosystem, you may need a permit. Find out more about water affecting activity permits.

New allocations and some other activities like dam construction are restricted in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges while the Securing Low Flows and Managing High Demand projects are making progress to ensure that the water resources for this area are sustainably managed for all users now and for the future. For more information about new allocations contact Water Licensing (as above), and for more information about dam construction refer to the water affecting activity permits page (as above).

More information

Find out more information about what a water allocation plan is and why they are important.

If you would like to access a copy of the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges water allocation plan, you can:



Related links

More information

  • Natural Resources Centre Mount Barker
    Cnr Mann and Walker Streets, Mount Barker SA 5251
    08 8391 7500