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Published: 12 March 2021   •   Media release

Leaders came together this week to share their climate adaptation knowledge and innovations to help supercharge the effort to help communities and the environment adjust to the impacts of climate change in the Murray–Darling Basin.

The summit heard insights from active stakeholders across a range of sectors including community, agriculture, environment, First Nations, government, science, research and development, eco-tourism and finance.

The MDBA's head of Basin Strategy and Knowledge Vicki Woodburn said the range of stakeholder groups are all at various stages in their adaptation journey.

"We've seen a positive response to bringing these leaders together – taking the time to listen to, and learn from each other," Ms Woodburn said. "I know there were plenty of a-ha moments which is what we wanted to help facilitate."

"Everyone involved has been able to see the value of establishing new connections and working together on climate adaptation initiatives, to see their efforts multiplied and more quickly achieved.

"There are some amazing examples of communities and industries adapting to climate change and thinking outside the box – these innovative approaches are what we all need to consider and give visibility to."

Chair of Western Australia's Grower Group Alliance and former farmer from Dunn Rock, Peter Roberts told the summit that the grains industry saw a step change in rainfall 20 years ago, which forced growers to be smarter, more proactive and more collaborative.

"We can't make it rain, but what the WA grains industry has been doing is sharpening the pencil and focusing on things within our control to help drive improvements. We're seeing innovation and adoption across a range of areas including seed breeding, machinery, farm inputs and overall farm management," Mr Roberts said.

"In 2020-21 Western Australia delivered its second biggest crop on record, with a decile 4 winter rainfall."

CEO of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority in Victoria, Chris Cumming spoke of the Goulburn Broken community's successful application of resilience principles and climate adaptation planning.

"The communities have worked hard to build an understanding of future climate scenarios, consider responses and identify no-regrets priority actions for implementation and we're already seeing results from the changes being made," Ms Cumming said.

"For example, in the Strathbogie Ranges, communities are revegetating for refugia, ground water monitoring and water budgeting on-farm. In the Shepparton region farmers are implementing water use efficiency practices, reconfiguring drainage systems and reconnecting nature for species movement."

The summit was created in the wake of the findings of the 2020 Evaluation of the Basin Plan, which highlighted the fast changing climate across the Basin, and identified the need for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing to allow Basin communities to be more prepared for the future.

"The weather we have seen in the Murray–Darling Basin during the past 20 years defies the long-term historical record – the climate is changing fast and it's demanding our collective attention," Ms Woodburn said.

"The research we asked the CSIRO to undertake for us last year exposed a range of future climate scenarios the Basin could face and the negative impacts we may see on stream flows and water availability. This research complements extensive actions occurring across Basin state governments.

"With this important knowledge at hand and recognition that there was much great work already happening in the climate adaptation space, we made a commitment to facilitate the sharing and coordination of information on Basin climate adaptation to supercharge the larger adaptation effort."

The summit will result in improved collaborations between organisations across the Basin.

The MDBA invites interested and active groups or individuals to contact us at with information about climate adaptation ideas and plans, and/or interest in being involved in further work.

For more information on the MDBA's work in climate adaptation visit the website.


Contact the MDBA Media office at or 02 6279 0141

Participating organisations at the Basin Climate Resilience Summit:

  • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)
  • ACT Government - Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development
  • Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Australian Rivers Institute
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • Climate Change Authority
  • Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
  • Cotton Research and Development Corporation
  • Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations
  • CSIRO Land and Water
  • Delta Stewardship Council (California, USA)
  • South Australian Department for Environment and Water
  • Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Queensland Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water
  • EcoTourism Australia
  • Environment Victoria
  • Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority
  • Grower Group Alliance
  • Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation
  • La Trobe University
  • Landcare
  • Murray Darling Association
  • Murray–Darling Basin Authority
  • Murray River Trails
  • National Farmers' Federation
  • National Irrigators' Council
  • NRM Regions Australia
  • Red Cross
  • Rural Bank
  • University of Southern Queensland

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