The launch of a ‘Five Year Plan’ by the Central West Councils Environment & Waterways Alliance has attracted intense interest from Government agencies keen to work with the Alliance on water management issues.
Publicity surrounding the launch alerted several State Government agencies to the benefits of working collaboratively with this group of 19 councils from the Central West of NSW (formerly known as the Salinity & Water Quality Alliance).
“These State Government agencies have indicated they’re keen to work with the Alliance on a variety of water quality, fisheries and ecological issues,” said Alliance Chair, Murray Wood.
“Partnering with an organisation which represents all 19 councils is a more effective and efficient strategy than making separate connections with each local area, which is a real benefit of an Alliance such as ours.”
Member Councils in the Alliance include Bathurst, Blayney, Bogan, Cabonne, Coonamble, Cowra, Dubbo, Forbes, Gilgandra, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid-Western, Narromine, Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Warren, Warrumbungle, and Wellington.
The Alliance is supported by Central Tablelands and Central West Local Land Services as their primary means of engagement with local government across the two regions.
According to Murray Wood, another exciting development for the Alliance in 2016 will be a new partnership with NSW Health to develop Catchment Management Plans for each of the 19 member councils.
“These plans are critical for local water authorities to protect the key sources of our drinking water supplies from potential contamination and will involve a range of actions including land use planning, monitoring, altered land management practices and riparian rehabilitation works,” explained Murray.
Catchment Management Plans are now a requirement for local water authorities under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, but progress on the completion of Plans has been slow.
“The Central West Councils’ Environment & Waterways Alliance has been approached by NSW Health representatives to assist in the development and implementation of these Catchment Management Plans.”
“The Alliance will provide constructive assistance to our member councils through the provision of templates, guidelines and industry expertise to ensure they can meet their obligations under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.”
The Alliance plans to host a workshop next year where expert speakers and facilitators will work with council representatives to assist individual councils in developing their Catchment Management Plans.
The Alliance will also create templates and guidelines to simplify the development process.
Meanwhile, the Alliance’s newly launched ‘Five Year Plan’ will guide the organisation’s future direction, with a focus on six key priorities:
· Water & Waterways
· People & Communities
· Towards Sustainability
· Council Capacity
“Each Strategy aligns with the State Local Land Services Strategies to ensure that we are working towards common targets,” said Mr Wood.
“The plan will be reviewed annually to ensure the Alliance remains a relevant and progressive membership based organisation for Councils across the Central West of NSW.”
The new Central West Councils Environment & Waterways Alliance website can be found at: www.cwcewa.com.au
For more information contact Project Support Officer, Mick Callan, at Central Tablelands Local Land Services on phone: 02 6333 2323 or mobile: 0400 968 201.