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Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism program – progress reporting

The MDBA produces annual reports to track progress, and also publishes quarterly dashboards which aim to provide a regular overview of progress.

Quarterly reporting is through publication of a quarterly dashboard compiled through information supplied by state governments.

The latest quarterly dashboard below is for the October – December 2021 period.

  • Throughout 2021, the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia remained committed to delivering Basin Plan outcomes under the SDLAM. Specific achievements through October – December 2021 are highlighted below.
  • In Victoria, The Victorian Murray Floodplain Restoration Project (VMFRP) continues to deliver against the agreed Milestones in accordance with the State/Commonwealth agreement. Timely delivery remains subject to COVID impacts, obtaining regulatory approvals (including cultural heritage), adverse weather conditions (such as bushfire or high flows), and the Commonwealth providing additional funding for regulatory approvals to move through to construction. The VMFRP continues to work towards delivering an ambitious program of works by June 2024 by mitigating delays and finding efficiencies in processes. Despite the impacts (i.e. unforeseen additional process required for the regulatory approvals resulting from the culturally rich landscape; COVID and high river flows limiting access to sites), key progress has still been made with the regulatory process, Traditional Owners, community engagement and the development of design alternatives to avoid cultural and ecological impacts.
  • South Australia has been delivering the SA River Murray Constraints project and is on track for delivery by June 2024. South Australia is working in partnership with communities to refine the implementation plan for Stage 2 works to enable managed flows of up to 80,000 ML/day to occur at the SA border, providing environmental benefits to wetlands and the River Murray Channel in South Australia. This work allowed aspects of the Stage 2 implementation to be presented to the Commonwealth during the report period to form an accelerated on-ground works package. After the conclusion of this reporting period South Australia secured $19.694 million of Commonwealth funding for accelerated delivery of early on-ground works to enable early construction works to commence concurrent with the finalisation of the remaining investigation and implementation planning under Stage 1 delivery.
  • In NSW, the Reconnecting River Country Program activities have been progressing in accordance with the revised and rescoped program with the expectation of submission of the strategic business case in September 2022. The program has continued to maintain momentum for areas of accelerated project delivery. Planning, and rescoping of program and budget commenced in December 2021 to ensure delivery of activities to meet funding milestones and delivery of a strategic business case.

Before quarterly reporting commenced, Indec Pty Ltd was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to provide a high-level assessment of the status of the sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism (SDLAM) program.

At the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council strategic discussion on 29 April 2021, Ministers agreed to publish the report to provide communities with information as at April 2021 about the progress of the projects. Subsequent to Ministers’ acceptance, Basin Officials provided observations on the report in September 2021.

All figures in the reporting are subject to change until the MDBA models the final delivered package of measures. Whilst care has been applied in estimating the volumetric contribution, the following should be noted:

  • There is significant uncertainty associated with project level estimates as the SDLAM was modelled as a package and the interaction between projects ultimately affects the volumetric contribution of the overall SDLAM program.
  • The volumetric contribution is not binding for the purpose of reconciliation and cannot be relied on to make estimates of potential shortfall associated with the failure to deliver a single, or group of projects.
  • The volumetric contribution for each project is an estimate only and may be an under or overestimated.


Status assessment report
Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism program – status assessment

Status assessment report prepared by Indec for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism program – quarterly dashboard reports
Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism quarterly dashboard – October to December 2021
Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism quarterly dashboard – July to September 2021
Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism quarterly dashboard – April to June 2021
Basin Officials observations of the Indec SDLAM status assessment report
Basin Officials observations of the Indec sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism status assessment report – September 2021

This response provides an overview of how the suite of recommendations made by Indec will be incorporated in the ongoing delivery of the SDLAM program.