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Water resource plans

A water resource plan outlines how a particular area of the Murray–Darling Basin’s water resources will be managed to be consistent with the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

It sets out the rules and arrangements relating to issues such as annual limits on water take, environmental water, managing water during extreme events and strategies to achieve water quality standards and manage risks.

Water resource plans include groundwater areas and surface water areas. Some water resource plans will manage both groundwater and surface water as a single area.

The Basin states will build on their existing water management arrangements to meet the water resource requirements set out in the Basin Plan.

Water resource plans are an important way of aligning Basin-wide and state-based water resource management to provide sustainable limits for the water resources of the Murray–Darling Basin.

Under the Basin Plan all water resource plans must be accredited by mid 2019. We are working with the Basin states to support the development of their water resource plans and ensure they can be accredited on time.

Water resource plan accreditation

Once the Basin states are satisfied they have met the Basin Plan requirements, they will submit their water resource plan to us for assessment.The Muray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) can assist Basin states in developing a water resource plan that meets Basin Plan requirements.

The MDBA is responsible for assessing whether the water resource plans are consistent with the Basin Plan, and advising the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources if they should be accredited.The role of MDBA in assessing water resource plans is set out in the water resource plan assessment framework. This explains how the MDBA process is transparent, systematic and repeatable.

The minister reviews the water resource plan and makes the final decision on whether the plan should be accredited or not. The accredited water resource plan will take effect the day after the minister’s decision is registered on the Federal register of legislation.

Accredited water resource plans

Water resource plan compliance

We have monitoring and compliance responsibilities for water resource plans (under The Water Act, Section 58).  Our regulatory statement explains our compliance framework and approach. This helps clarify our role for Basin states, infrastructure operators and other water users on how we will exercise our water resource plan compliance role. 

More information