Water Security for all Australians

Water Security for all Australians 

Water Security for all Australians is the Australian Water Association’s advocacy platform. When we say ‘water security’ – we are referring to the certainty the Australian community can have that its water needs will be met into the future on an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable basis.

Under this umbrella there are four key areas which need to be taken into consideration when determining water security: safe and affordable drinking water; water to support industry and agriculture; water management to create liveable communities; water to protect the environment.

Building on the work that has been and is currently being done for the purpose of securing water to meet these needs including the Victorian Water Plan, Commonwealth Government’s National Water Security Plan for Cities and Town, the WA government’s Innovative future in 2050 urban water outlook Report, the Water for Food Plan in South Australia; the ACT Government's ACT Water Strategy 2014-44. Striking the Balance, and the Territory Government's Our Water Future Discussion Paper: A Conversation with Territorians to name a few, the Association is developing a Water Security for All Australians scorecard and a series of related discussion papers. 

Water Security for all Australians – discussion paper and scorecard

The Water Security for all Australians discussion paper introduces the concept of the scorecard, and can be downloaded here.

The scorecard will be easily understood by the community and will be something that will tell us how confident we can be that our water supplies will be protected into the future. 

Designed to indicate the level of water security that exists across Australia according to current government policies and infrastructure investment plans, the scorecard will compare that with the level of security that the community anticipates and expects.

To construct the scorecard, the Association is conducting a review of information that is publicly available from authoritative sources and combining this with the results from the Association’s Australian Water Survey which aims to ascertain our community response to these water issues (the survey will run in July). The review will take information from:

  • data about the demands on water resources and water infrastructure due to changes in climate, population, mining, agriculture, and the like
  • current policies and committed investment plans 
  • evidence of how those policies and plans will improve water security
  • evidence of how policies and investment plans can be expected to develop over time.
Water Security for all Australians - Discussion Paper
Distilling these will provide a number of indicators that tell us about the level of security we have in cities and in regional, rural and remote areas.

This process is designed to create increased community awareness on how government and business leaders are planning and investing for the future.

We hope the Water Security for all Australians scorecard:

  • prompts the parties to lead a national conversation that raises the importance of water and engages the community in a mature debate about the role we all play in securing our water future
  • will define measures and targets for the levels of water security across Australia
  • enable evidence-based policies and regulation to be sent that creates the right conditions and incentives for businesses and the community to use, operate and invest in water and water infrastructure
  • creates the opportunities for Australia to build the new forms of human and intellectual capital it needs to research, innovate and develop new and better solutions.

State of play

All the parties acknowledged in some way the importance of water security to Australia. However, no party provided a policy that comprehensively addresses it at a Commonwealth level. More policy focus is needed across all parties on how the Commonwealth Government will lead a national conversation that raises the importance of water and engages the community in a mature debate about the role we all play in securing our water future and exercise its leadership across all levels of government with significant and noticeable effect and set water policy more holistically with full regard for economic development, agriculture, mining, the environment, cities and other communities. Read more about the party polices in the full discussion paper here.

The Association will advocate and advise governments and the community how to improve water security in the best interests of the country. 

To strengthen its expertise and capacity, invites support from industry and community associations, utilities and corporations to help us in advancing Australia’s water security.

Download the Discussion Paper