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SDL adjustment mechanism roles and responsibilities

The Murray–Darling Basin spans 4 states and 1 territory. Managing water across this landscape requires effective collaboration from all Basin governments in implementing the Basin Plan and the sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism (SDLAM).

Basin state governments

Basin state governments are responsible for:

  • developing and assessing sustainable diversion limit adjustment supply and constraint projects
  • delivering the supply and constraint projects at a local level
  • consulting with communities and detailed project design and implementation
  • reporting any changes of project design or delivery to the MDBA.

Supply and constraint projects are developed and assessed according to the phased process agreed to by all Basin jurisdictions.

Basin governments are aware of a range of issues and opportunities with proposed projects and plan to incorporate these into implementation activities.

Australian Government

The Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water manages the efficiency projects.

Efficiency projects are assessed and funded by the Australian Government.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)

The MDBA has multiple functions relevant to the sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism. This includes roles in:

  • determining if a reconciliation is required and conducting it
  • technical support
  • project delivery when contracted by Basin governments.

These functions may overlap in responsibility and in some cases are interdependent.


  • will maintain the highest standards of probity in undertaking these functions to maintain the integrity of the Authority’s multiple roles (including decision-making).
  • is responsible for implementing the sustainable diversion limit adjustment calculation method to assess how much water is being saved through supply projects.

In the past the MDBA has also:

  • determined the sustainable diversion limit adjustment volume in September 2017, based on the package of projects notified by the Basin Officials Committee to the MDBA. In February 2018, this adjustment was proposed by the MDBA and adopted by the Australian Government Minister responsible for water and an amendment was made to the Basin Plan.
  • provided technical analysis of the projects to support Basin state governments with project feasibility studies and business cases. This is in line with the phased process agreed to by all Basin governments.

The MDBA continues to play a key role sustainable diversion limits accounting and the operation of the sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism.

Assumptions about projects within the MDBA's modelling are considered a baseline for the projects.

The MDBA conducts assurance on projects which informs the Authority on whether there is a need to conduct a formal reconciliation prior to 30 June 2024.

The Basin Plan includes the option to re-evaluate the SDL adjustment through this reconciliation process, should it determine it is appropriate to do so.

Updated: 22 Nov 2022