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Advancing science and monitoring

The 2020 Basin Plan Evaluation has found greater investment in science and monitoring is badly needed to support the management of a complex river system like the Murray–Darling Basin.

The Evaluation has identified gaps in monitoring while emerging risks, including climate change, will require improved knowledge to support adaptation. Basin governments need to collaborate and invest more in long-term science and monitoring programs as well as short-to-medium-term intervention monitoring to support understanding and appropriate responses to Basin conditions and changes in them over time.

Tools for monitoring Basin condition

The MDBA has used a suite of business analytics tools to analyse data and share insights from the 2020 Basin Plan Evaluation. Below are a suite of stories and data that will allow Basin communities, industries and governments to explore different data sets used to inform the Evaluation.

Click on the Story Map image below for insights into how the Basin Plan supports healthy ecosystems that provide homes for creatures, including waterbirds and fish.

Click on the image below to learn about the impact of water for the environment on fish populations since the Basin Plan has been in place.

Click on the Story Map image below for an insight to how the Basin Plan helps to support vegetation.


Click on the image below to learn more about the condition of vegetation in the Basin since the Basin Plan has been implemented.


Click on the image below to learn more about the condition of ruppia in the Coorong.

Recommendations and commitments for the future

Evaluating the Basin Plan is an opportunity for Basin governments to reflect on the past 8 years.

The Evaluation considers the changing landscape across the Basin, the effectiveness of the Basin Plan and whether outcomes are being achieved. It’s also an opportunity to determine how we continue to improve the health of the Basin for everyone.

The MDBA has made several recommendations and commitments to improve the management of water resources. The MDBA has made the following recommendations to advance science and monitoring:

  • Recommendation 11 – Basin governments should prioritise higher levels of continuing strategic investment in science and monitoring. The new Australian Government Murray–Darling Water and Environment Research Program and the Basin governments’ Science Platform provide a much-needed foundation for an enduring Basin science program. Any framework and program of investment must be transparent and embed continuous improvement. The investment should also cement enduring collaborative relationships between researchers, communities and managers to improve use of the best available science to water management.
  • Recommendation 12 – Science and monitoring information must be made more accessible for all Basin stakeholders to improve the communication of Basin outcomes to the broader Basin community.

The MDBA has also made a commitment to improve science and monitoring in the Basin.

MDBA commitment

The MDBA will work with Basin governments and stakeholders to develop an improved Basin-wide monitoring framework which considers social, cultural, economic and environmental themes. The MDBA will work with Basin governments and researchers to clearly identify roles and responsibilities and ensure integration of monitoring programs and improved access to data and information. The MDBA will take an active role in facilitating access and application of information.

Updated: 15 Dec 2020