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Sustainable diversion limit accounting and reporting framework

The Basin Plan aims to strike a balance between access to water for Basin communities, while also providing water for the environment, for the benefit of all Australians.

This balance will deliver a productive and healthy Murray–Darling Basin. Water accounting with the Basin Plan is critical to achieving this and ensuring that all Australians trust that water is being used in accordance with the rules.

At its heart, the Basin Plan sets sustainable diversion limits (SDLs), which limit how much water, on average, can be used in the Basin by towns and communities, farmers, and industries, while keeping the rivers and environment healthy. To ensure water use is within the sustainable diversion limit we are required to establish and maintain a Register of the amount of water taken each year in each SDL resource unit across the Basin, and to publish these ‘Registers of Take’ that are used to compare the annual water take to the SDLs.

The SDL Accounting and Reporting Framework 2022 summarises the key accounting concepts and outlines the roles and responsibilities in assessment of SDL compliance that are shared between the Basin States, MDBA, the Inspector-General of Water Compliance and other Commonwealth agencies.

The Sustainable Diversion Limit accounting and reporting framework outlines the approach we will take when reporting with the sustainable diversion limits.

Managing water is a shared responsibility because water is a shared resource. Basin state governments and the Australian Government have a key role in ensuring water laws are adhered to.

Basin state governments are the regulators and the frontline for policing water use in the Basin

The compliance of Individual water users with local water sharing rules and licences is the responsibility of the Basin state governments. They are responsible for ensuring state compliance systems are effective, and for enforcing the rules, many of which are outlined in water resource plans.

From the 2020-21 water year onwards, the Inspector-General is responsible for assessing water take against the SDLs within each SDL resource unit

Updated: 02 Sep 2022