Basin Plan checking the settings to get the best outcomes

29 November 2016

MDBA Chief Executive Phillip Glyde's Op Ed on proposed basin plan amendments.

When the Basin Plan was drafted in 2012, the system was under serious strain.

The millennium drought was a wake-up call. We needed a plan to better share the basin's water to safeguard one of Australia's greatest national assets and ensure the Murray–Darling Basin has enough water to sustain itself.

That was achieved in 2012 when the Basin Plan received bipartisan support from all basin states and the Australian Government.

It was recognised that there would be adverse impacts on regional economies and employment. That's why the Australian Government is investing $13 billion to make the plan work. In the long-term it means a more certain future and increased water security for all river users.

Regular reviews were hardwired into the plan to allow it to be refocused when needed.

The Basin Plan sets out that around 10,800 GL will be available for consumption in an average year. This target involves a recovery of 2750 GL water for the environment.

Currently, the northern part of the basin contributes to that recovery with a target of 390 GL by 2019.

The MDBA has been reviewing the settings for the northern basin over the past three to four years, consulting with communities and experts.

Our ground-breaking social and economic research separated the effects of water recovery from things like farm mechanisation at a community by community level. We talked with representatives from communities and from Aboriginal Nations to build our knowledge.

Based on this work, we propose an amendment to reduce the 390 GL target by 70 GL to 320 GL.

We can say with confidence that this decision means that about 200 jobs can be kept in irrigation dependent communities across the northern basin and that environmental outcomes close to those delivered under a 390 GL recovery are still achievable.

Read more about the proposed amendments: http://www.mdba.gov.au/media/mr/checking-the-settings-to-get-the-best-outcomes

Basin Plan proposed amendments
Basin Plan proposed amendments

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