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Basin Condition Monitoring Program

The Basin Condition Monitoring Program is an Australian Government commitment to develop and deliver new monitoring and reporting of economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions in the Murray–Darling Basin.

As well as forming part of the Australian Government’s response to the Independent assessment of social and economic conditions in the Murray–Darling Basin in 2020, the Basin Condition Monitoring Program is driven by the requirements of the 2026 Basin Plan Review and the needs of Basin communities.

Projects and themes

Running through to December 2025, the Program consists of 15 projects across 5 themes.

Five themes


  • Economic and social conditions report
  • Economic values beyond irrigation
  • Changes to employment​​
  • Dynamics of the water market​


  • Yarn on the River ​​2
  • Cultural flows​
  • Outcomes for First Nations peoples​​


  • Impacts of water delivery​ and operations​
  • eDNA monitoring​​
  • Floodplains and wetland fish​
  • Satellite vegetation maps


  • Basin community values​​
  • Community oral histories
  • Communication


  • Community flow​​


Allocation of funding across the 5 themes

Basin Condition Monitoring Program allocation of funding
Approximate breakdown of Basin Condition Monitoring Program funds (including overheads) across the 5 themes: economic $1.88 million, cultural $1.69 million, environmental $1.75 million, social $1.57 million and hydrology $0.61 million.

Program development

The MDBA has used a community-centred ‘bottom-up’ approach to developing the Basin Condition Monitoring Program.

Regional Community Forums

The MDBA established Regional Community Forums across 6 regions of the Basin in 2021. The forums discussed a broad range of community issues, values and priorities, and distilled these into a group of projects. These projects cover what is important and achievable without duplicating existing monitoring work.

The Basin Condition Monitoring Program is not operating in isolation. There are core long-term monitoring programs in the states and Commonwealth, and other focused programs that together complement the Basin Condition Monitoring Program.

First Nations

The MDBA is working with First Nations groups directly on the design of the cultural projects. These include Murray and Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN), the Basin Community Committee (BCC) Indigenous sub-group and others.

Basin governments

The Basin governments have been consulted via the inter-jurisdictional Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Working Group (MER WG) to ensure there is no overlap and the projects complement existing monitoring. In addition, the social and economic projects have been developed in consultation with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), a division of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The Authority

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority is the program’s decision-maker. In this role it uses the collaborative process above and considers all the feedback received. The MDBA approved the suite of 15 projects in April 2022.

Updated: 19 Jan 2023