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Water resource plans

Water resource plans are an integral part of implementing the Basin Plan. They set new rules on how much water can be taken from the system, ensuring the sustainable diversion limit is not exceeded over time.

Key facts

The sustainable diversion limit is the amount of water that can be used in the Murray–Darling Basin.

Basin state and territory governments use local and First Nations knowledge when developing water resource plans.

Water resource plans are key to ensuring sustainable diversion limits are not exceeded over time.
Plans will evolve and be adapted over time. They may need to be reaccredited in the future as they are adjusted and improved.
There are 33 water resource plans which include groundwater and surface water.

The plans complement and strengthen existing arrangements in each state to manage water.


Basin state governments develop water resource plans. The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) works closely with Basin state governments to ensure water resource plans meet the requirements of the Basin Plan and address the local requirements of water resource management. 

Each water resource plan sets out the rules for how water is used at a local or catchment level, including limits on how much water can be taken from the system, how much water will be made available to the environment, and how water quality standards can be met. Basin state governments are responsible for complying with water resource plans and accounting for water taken from the river system.

Water resource plans outline how each region aims to achieve community, environmental, economic and cultural outcomes and ensure that state water management rules meet the Basin Plan objectives. The plans reflect current arrangements that are working and incorporate new arrangements that strengthen water management at a local level.

Getting the plans right can take time – local communities must have confidence that the plans are robust, high quality and adequately address local needs.

Water resource plans will continue to evolve and adapt over time as new and improved information becomes available and will be adjusted and reaccredited in the future.

View the list of state water resource plans.

Quarterly reports

The MDBA will continue to report regularly on the progress of water resource plan development and accreditation. The quarterly reports reflect state-by-state progress.

We are further increasing transparency by publishing all water resource plans we receive for assessment.

What's in a water resource plan?

Water resource plans cover a wide range of water management subjects, including:

Image showing the water management subjects covered by the water resource plans


Updated: 22 Dec 2021