Constraints Management Strategy
During the public comment period 9–30 October the MDBA held meetings in Basin towns. Summaries of these meetings and a link to published public comments can be found here.
The Constraints Management Strategy is part of the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan. It has been developed over the past 12 months through technical assessments and consultation with local communities and industries and incorporates the views and suggestions from the October public comment period.
The 'constraints' being addressed in the Strategy are the river management practices, physical structures and river height limits that restrict the effectiveness of environmental watering in the Basin. Modifying these practices has the potential to significantly improve and extend the benefits of environmental watering.
The historical development of the river system and the evolution of the complex river operation practices that govern river flows has supported the growth of the Basin's vital irrigation industries as well as the growth of communities and towns, but it has affected the environment as a result of changing how, when and where the Basin's rivers flow.
The aim of the Strategy is to improve the environmental outcomes achievable beyond current operating conditions by allowing better use of environmental water while avoiding, managing or mitigating impacts to local communities and industries. The changes being investigated are modest and aim to increase the frequency of some of the small to medium flow events that are already occurring.
The Australian Government has committed $200 million to relax or remove constraints that are identified as priorities by Basin States.
The Strategy sets out a 10-year phased process to investigate options to modify constraints, to assess the impacts of these changes, to identify and cost the options to avoid or mitigate impacts and to implement solutions. Under this timetable, proposals to address constraints will be considered by governments in 2016 with implementation occurring from 2016 through to 2024.
An important principle of the Strategy is that any solutions to overcome constraints will recognise and respect the property rights of land holders and will not create any new risks to reliability of entitlements.
The Strategy identifies seven 'focus areas' for pre-feasibility assessment during 2014 and options for modifying the operational and management practices that govern the timing and use of water in the river.
The next phase of the work includes further assessment of the potential changes and collecting more detailed information from landholders living in the key focus areas to find out more about the effects of changes on low-lying properties and to identify the opportunities to mitigate these impacts.
Please contact the MDBA on 1800 230 067 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in being involved.