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Published: 26 June 2019   •   Media release

The MDBA work plan to improve compliance and enforcement of water rules in the Murray–Darling Basin in 2019-20 will focus on six priorities, including unmeasured water extraction, use of water meters and unfair or unnecessary trade restrictions.

The Executive Director of the Office of Compliance, Brent Williams, said over the past couple of years there had been significant progress to improve water compliance by state governments and the MDBA as required by the Basin Plan and Water Act.

"As the regulator, the MDBA's main job is to ensure the Basin state and territory governments' processes and enforcement measures are robust and give people in the Basin every opportunity to do the right thing," Mr Williams said.

"This year we will be in the field doing site inspections and meter coverage reviews, we will be auditing floodplain harvesting infrastructure in the northern Basin and educating water market users about trading rules and reporting."

Mr Williams said the MDBA's priorities for the coming year were:

  • unmeasured water extraction
  • robust water metering
  • trade restrictions
  • the protection of water for the environment
  • state government compliance and enforcement arrangements, and
  • state government accounting for the use of water in accordance with the new sustainable diversion limits and the adjustment of those limits.

"We've come a long way in a short time, and it's pleasing to see significant steps that are improving trust across the Basin, especially in extended drought conditions when every drop of water is so valuable," Mr Williams said.

"The MDBA continues to increase transparency about compliance issues, with a Water Resource Plan quarterly update, our audit of state reporting of water trade prices and a review of a large Northern Basin environmental flow all signalling the MDBA's commitment to action.

"We will continue to push for a ‘no meter, no take' approach across the Basin, and develop remote sensing capabilities and other technologies to better monitor water use and support compliance and enforcement.

"All Australians need to have confidence that the Basin Plan is being complied with. It's a big job, and the MDBA's ongoing work will ensure strong compliance and enforcement regimes are in place across the Basin that all Australians can have faith in."

The 2019-20 Compliance Priorities are available on the MDBA website at


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