Basin salinity management 2030
Salinity remains a significant management challenge and poses ongoing environmental, social and economic risks in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Salinity is forecast to continue to increase over time and requires careful ongoing management to prevent a return to the highly saline conditions of previous decades.
The MDBA and basin governments have a long and successful history of working together to manage salinity in the basin with a new strategy now developed for the next 15 years (to 2030).
This strategy, Basin salinity management 2030 (BSM2030), builds on the successes of the Basin salinity management strategy (2001-2015) to deliver a strategic, cost-efficient and streamlined program of coordinated salinity management for the next 15 years.
This program will enable partner governments and their communities to manage salinity, during a period of transition, as Basin Plan water reforms take effect.
Salt interception schemes will continue to be critical for protecting the river system from salinity.
At a state level, existing salinity management arrangements remain in place and regional development can continue with confidence that salinity will be well managed.
The focus of BSM2030 is to:
- maintain the cap on salinity through the existing Basin Salinity Target and the existing accountability framework
- bring environmental water fully into the accountability framework in a practical and pragmatic way
- explore opportunities to responsively manage salt interception schemes so that operations can be further optimised and costs can be reduced when river salinity is forecast to be low
- support Basin Plan flow management obligations to have regard to the salinity targets for managing water flows
- support basin states managing salinity in their catchments through their land and water management plans and be consistent with their Basin Plan water resource plan obligations
- develop fit-for-purpose governance arrangements which reduce the frequency of audit, reporting and reviews
- invest in knowledge to reduce uncertainty and potentially avoid the need for future capital investment in new joint works and measures
- undertake a major strategic review to ensure the strategy continues to guide effective management of salinity in the basin.