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Published: 14 February 2019   •   Media statements

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority acknowledges the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists latest report contains useful pieces of analysis and highlights the importance of full Basin Plan implementation.

The report analysed publicly available river flow data at two sites across the Murray–Darling Basin.

The MDBA actively monitors and evaluates Basin Plan outcomes using a range of techniques and all available evidence. This includes evidence of ecological responses to environmental watering events as well as changes to flows to assess progress.

Six years into implementing the Basin Plan it is not expected that flows across the Basin would fully reflect Basin Plan modelling. This is because eight year's worth of measurement, in the context of a highly variable climate, is not a long enough to draw statistically significant conclusions in comparison to Basin Plan modelling that used 114 years of data.

The MDBA agrees with the Wentworth Group's assessment that full implementation of the Basin Plan is necessary to achieve the environmental goals. Most of the water that needs to be recovered to return the system to a sustainable footing has been achieved and now changes to the rules about how water is managed are needed.

This is the next stage of Basin Plan implementation.

In the southern Basin that means working with the states to overcome constraints, or barriers to water delivery, and in the north it is about making sure environmental flows and low flows are protected through the delivery of ‘toolkit' measures.

The Authority at its last meeting affirmed its commitment to consider how states were incorporating mechanisms to ensure water for the environment was actively managed and protected in the north of the Basin when determining whether to recommend water resource plans for accreditation.

The MDBA conducted an evaluation of Basin Plan implementation in 2017 that found that while there were good early signs that the plan was working, there were areas of implementation that were challenging and required active support from all water managers.

ENDS

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