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Proposed Basin Plan amendments for the Northern Basin

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority has provided the northern Basin amendments, including the groundwater and minor practical changes, to Commonwealth Minister responsible for water. These amendments are now law and will be tabled in the Australian Parliament, when it resumes. For more information read this media release.

A review of the northern Basin water recovery target has been completed by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).

Key amendments:

  • Water recovery target to be reduced from 390 GL to 320 GL
  • Shared reduction to be reduced from 143 GL to 41 GL
  • Local reduction to be increased from 247 GL to 279 GL

The need to review the target was identified in 2012 when the Basin Plan was passed in recognition that knowledge of some northern areas was not as well developed as others.

The 4 year review involved substantial new research into socio-economic, hydrology and environmental aspects of the northern Basin. It also included consultation with northern Basin communities, including industries and Aboriginal groups in the north.

Based on the research and feedback from communities, we are proposing the water recovery target be reduced from 390 GLs to 320 GLs provided there are commitments from Australian, Queensland and New South Wales governments to implement a range of measures aimed at improved water management in the north.

This reduction minimises socio-economic impacts in northern Basin communities and delivers almost equivalent environmental outcomes by taking a more targeted approach to water recovery.

We are also recommending governments and communities find ways to improve access to waterways for Aboriginal people and improve engagement in water planning and management.


Key information

Northern Basin snapshot

An overview of the how the proposed amendments impact the northern Basin

View the snapshot

Northern Basin FAQs

Frequently asked questions from the public consultation period.

View the FAQs

Supporting documents

Background information and research

Hydrological modelling 

Social and economic research

Environmental science

Legal documents

These documents apply for all proposed change to the Basin Plan.