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Progress on water recovery

Summary of water recovery progress

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority estimates that the contracted water recovery in the Murray–Darling Basin, as at 30 June 2017, is 2,083.3 gigalitres (GL), which is 75.8% of the way toward meeting the 2,750 GL surface water recovery target outlined in the Basin Plan.

Basin scale

The sum of all local targets and shared targets is the total surface water recovery target for the Basin.

Recovery targets, at the Basin scale, are as follows:

Total sum of local targets Total sum of shared targets Total Basin target (local + shared)

1,636 GL

1,114 GL

2,750 GL

Contracted recovery estimates* at the Basin scale are as follows:

Commonwealth recovery purchased by tender program Commonwealth recovery from infrastructure projects Other Commonwealth recovery Total recovery by state projects Total estimated contracted water recovery Percentage of recovery target achieved

1,202.0 GL1

704.5 GL

15.0 GL

161.9 GL

2,083.3 GL

74.4 %

The total remaining water recovery* is as follows:

Recovery remaining to meet all local targets Recovery remaining to meet all shared targets Total water recovery still required

41.9 GL

624.8 GL

666.7 GL

*as at 30 June 2017. May change as new information comes forward.
1 includes 2.9 GL that is exempt from the 1500 GL limit on water purchases.

The details of the water recovery effort are presented in a summary table and more detailed table.

If you need an alternative format of the summary table, please contact the MDBA directly.

The summary table sets out all of the water recovery targets across the Basin, current progress toward meeting the targets, and the balance of recovery required. The information is presented at the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) resource unit scale, shared zone scale, and at total Basin scale.

There are 2 key aspects of water recovery targets in the Basin Plan. These are:

  • local targets, known in the Basin Plan as a 'local reduction amount', which apply at the SDL resource unit level
  • shared targets, known in the Basin Plan as a 'shared reduction amount', which apply at the shared zone level.

The terminology used in the Basin Plan, 'reduction amount', refers to the amount of reduction in water diversions for consumptive purposes (ie. BDL reduction). This 'reduction' is a condition of the water recovery contributing to the 2,750 GL water recovery target.

Progress against shared targets

Shared recovery targets are the further recovery required, in addition to the local recovery targets, to satisfy the environmental needs of the Murray and Darling rivers. The shared recovery is contributed to by SDL resource units which are sufficiently connected to these large rivers.

The summary table presents information about water recovery progress within the 5 shared target zones outlined in the Basin Plan (section 6.05). The shared recovery progress* is as follows:

Shared zone Shared target
(GL)
Recovery contributing to shared target
(GL)
Shared recovery still required
(GL)

Northern Basin zone

143.0

84.5

58.5

Southern Basin NSW zone

458.0

183.4

274.6

Southern Basin ACT zone

4.9

4.9

0

Southern Basin VIC zone

425.3

173.6

251.7

Southern Basin SA zone

82.8

42.9

39.9

* as at 30 June 2017. May change as new information comes forward.

The shared zones are comprised of SDL resource units shown below.

Progress against local targets

The Basin Plan sets out a local water recovery target for each SDL resource unit area. This target must be met by recovering water from within that SDL resource unit area. The local recovery amount is (in most cases) the minimum recovery required within each SDL resource unit to satisfy local environmental needs.

Our interactive map provides a snapshot of the water recovery information presented in the summary table at the SDL resource until level. The map displays all the SDL resource unit areas in the Murray-Darling Basin, and an area's colour indicates the volume of water recovered (as at 30 June 2017) that contributes to the Basin Plan's 2,750 GL recovery target.

How to use the interactive map:

Click on an area to see a summary of the local water recovery in that area. Also try using the zoom-slider on the map to see the SDL resource units in more detail.

 

Water recovered (GL)

  0 to 5
  5 to 20
  20 to 50
  50 to 150
  150 to 300
  300 to 400

Some key points about the interactive map:
  • water recovery information is as at 30 June 2017
  • only progress toward the local recovery target is displayed, at SDL resource unit level
  • local water recovery in excess of the local target contributes toward the relevant shared target
  • shared targets, and recovery progress at the zone level, can be found in the summary table, or see the 'progress against shared targets' section below.

Shared targets, SDL resource unit apportionment

On 22 November 2016, the Murray Darling Basin Authority recommended reducing the Northern Basin recovery target from 390 GL to 320 GL as part of a suite of amendments to the Basin Plan. The Authority is also proposing to divide the northern basin zone into two zones, each with its own shared reduction target.

A number of other technical amendments have also been proposed to ensure the smooth operation of the Basin Plan, including allowing additional time for states to nominate a preferred allocation of the shared reduction amounts.

The MDBA has provided the proposed amendments to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources for consideration. For more information http://www.mdba.gov.au/publications/mdba-reports/basin-plan-amendments.  

List of SDL resource units per zone

  • The northern Basin zone, comprised of the 12 SDL resource units of the northern Basin:
    • Barwon–Darling Watercourse
    • Condamine–Balonne
    • Gwydir
    • Intersecting Streams
    • Macquarie–Castlereagh
    • Moonie
    • Namoi
    • Nebine
    • NSW Border Rivers
    • Paroo
    • Queensland Border Rivers
    • Warrego.
  • The southern Basin New South Wales zone, comprised of the following NSW SDL resource units:
    • Lower Darling
    • Murrumbidgee
    • New South Wales Murray.
  • The southern Basin Australian Capital Territory zone, comprised of the Australian Capital Territory (surface water) SDL resource unit.
  • The southern Basin Victoria zone, comprised of the following Victorian SDL resource units:
    • Broken
    • Campaspe
    • Goulburn
    • Kiewa
    • Loddon
    • Ovens
    • Victorian Murray.
  • The southern Basin South Australian zone, comprised of the following South Australian SDL resource units:
    • Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges
    • South Australian Murray
    • Marne Saunders
    • SA non-prescribed areas.

Pre–2009 water recovery

Since 2004, major water recovery programs have been underway to recovery water for the environment in the Basin. These programs include the 'The Living Murray' and 'Water for Rivers'.

The water recovery commitments in this period of 2004–09 were taken into account when determining the baseline diversion limits and SDLs for each SDL resource unit area. The target 2,750 GL of water recovery builds upon these historical efforts to improve environmental outcomes.

The MDBA's estimates of water recovered by these programs is presented in the pre–2009 water recovery table.

If you need an alternative format of the pre-2009 water recovery table, please contact the MDBA directly.

About SDL resource units

An SDL resource unit describes a geographical area which contains a set of water resources. Boundaries of surface-water SDL resource units are generally based on catchments, while boundaries of groundwater SDL resource units are based on hydrogeology and existing state planning boundaries. Maps of the SDL resource units are available from our spatial information downloads page.

SDL resource units are broadly grouped under the 'northern Basin', 'southern Basin' or 'disconnected tributaries'.

The northern Basin consists of the following 12 SDL resource units:

  • Barwon–Darling Watercourse
  • Condamine–Balonne
  • Gwydir
  • Intersecting Streams
  • Macquarie–Castlereagh
  • Moonie
  • Namoi
  • Nebine
  • New South Wales Border Rivers
  • Paroo
  • Queensland border rivers
  • Warrego.

The southern Basin consists of the following 15 SDL resource units:

  • Australian Capital Territory (surface water)
  • Broken
  • Campaspe
  • Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges
  • Goulburn
  • Kiewa
  • Loddon
  • Lower Darling
  • Murrumbidgee
  • New South Wales Murray
  • Ovens
  • South Australian Murray
  • Victorian Murray
  • Marne Saunders
  • SA non-prescribed areas.

The disconnected tributaries are the Lachlan and Wimmera–Mallee (surface water) SDL units.