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Basin Plan report card

The Murray–Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia. The Basin Plan is a major reform agenda, agreed by the Australian Government and the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. The Plan is intended to ensure that the shared water resources of the Basin are managed and used sustainably, in the national interest.

This is the second Report Card produced by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). It responds to feedback from the community seeking short, timely updates on progress. The MDBA has considered a number of technical reports and sources of information. Our assessment has accounted for project status, delivery timeframes, governance and funding, and community consultation.

We encourage Basin governments to continue to work together, with the wider community, to implement the Basin Plan in full. We ask for particular consideration of the highlighted risks. There are many challenges ahead, and success depends on a collective effort.

Six key elements of Basin Plan implementation have been assessed. Some elements are on track, some need more resourcing and immediate actions, and others are at risk of delay. These elements are interconnected, the Basin Plan needs progress in all areas to set the groundwork for a healthy and sustainable Basin.

Assessment - July 2019

Water resource plans

As anticipated, water resource plans were not completed by the original June 2019 deadline. Continued effort and commitment is needed to deliver these plans.


Governments continue to deliver against the Compliance Compact—additional resourcing and monitoring will strengthen compliance with water management rules across the Basin.

Northern Basin Initiatives

Some initiatives are progressing, others need fast-tracking and continued liaison with communities. Reforms to protect low flows and water for the environment need to be fully implemented.

Environmental water delivery

In drought, this water is working to protect habitats, but like all entitlement holders there is limited water available for use. Challenges with the delivery of water for the environment in the past year are concerning.

Water recovery

Bridging the gap

Water recovery is close to completion, although some targeted local recovery still needs to be completed.


Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism

Supply and constraints projects

Basin state governments are progressing some projects, others are developing slowly and need fast-tracking to achieve completion by the 2024 deadline

Efficiency measures

The required 62 GL/y of efficiency measures has not been recovered, and the SDL will adjust from 605 GL/y to 544 GL/y for 2019–20.




2019 mid-year Report Card – read the full report
2018 Report Card – read the full report
Updated: 31 Jul 2019  •   MDBA reports