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Part 5: Appendixes

Appendix G: Key performance indicators for delivery of Strategic Plan

Objective 1: Protection and enhancement of the Basin’s shared environmental assets and water resources.
Existing performance indicator Report on progress against performance indicator
Strategy 1.1

(a)   Water recovery targets (as contained in the Living Murray Business Plan) achieved totalling an average of up to 500 GL per year June 2009.

328.45 GL of projects is listed on the register following the 25 May 2007 Council meeting. The probability of achieving the water recovery target by June 2009 depends on the finalisation and rapid implementation of a broad range of types of projects (particularly infrastructure projects, and market based measures) by a number of proponents (including jurisdictions).

Strategy 1.1 & 1.6

(b)   Delivery of the agreed environmental works and measures program for each year of the strategic plan.

The program is beginning to mature with the major ‘works and water’ packages at the Icon sites becoming more clearly defined through the development of ‘blueprints’. Modelling has commenced to integrate these proposals with the water recovery program and system operating demands.

Progress is still slower than desired with many jurisdictions experiencing difficulty in establishing staffing levels required to deliver the program (which has increased due to the $500m provided by the AG). Recent Commission and Council approved delegations will streamline the approvals process, enabling accelerated project delivery.

Expenditure in 2006–07 was $16.6m, compared to the budget of $24.1m. Key achievements have been:

  • Purchase of Toorangabby Station to facilitate the Koondrook flood enhancement project
  • Completion of 3 wetland water regulating structures on Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands
  • Resnagging – over 1200 snags were reinstated between Hume and Yarrawonga to provide native fish habitat
  • Partial completion of Lock 1 fishway

Completion of a number of detailed designs for works to be constructed in 2007–08.

Strategy 1.1

(c)   Baseline condition established, as part of the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation arrangements for The Living Murray, for the six significant ecological assets by December 2006.

A monitoring framework has now been drafted and is beginning to guide the development of monitoring arrangements at each icon site.

Full development of monitoring arrangements has not yet been completed for the majority of sites and is not expected to occur until the end of 2007–08.

Overall, progress is greater than in previous years and baseline data is being collected.

Strategy 1.1 & 1.6

(d)   Delivery of The Living Murray First Step Decision’s ecological objectives (including for floodplain and wetland health, birds and fish) at each of the six significant ecological assets from June 2009.

A Living Murray Environmental Watering Plan is in place, and environmental management plans are in place for each icon site. Environmental works to enhance the delivery system to the icon sites are being designed, and some are being constructed.

An intervention monitoring program is in place. Considerable hydrological modelling is required to inform tradeoffs between water use at different sites.

The drought has meant that the condition of a number of the icon sites is worse than expected – and hence the achievement of the agreed environmental outcomes might take longer than expected.

Strategy 1.1 & 1.6

(e)   The Living Murray First Step evaluated on an annual basis and the development of future options considered by June 2007, consistent with the period of review for The Living Murray Business Plan (Clause 159), or earlier as requested by Ministerial Council.

The Independent Audit Group is evaluating the First Step on an annual basis.

It has been agreed that the signing off of the Supplementary Intergovernmental Agreement constitutes the agreed review of the initial Intergovernmental Agreement. To reflect the Supplementary Intergovernmental Agreement, Council agreed to a revised Living Murray Business Plan on 25 May 2007.

Strategy 1.2, 1.4 and 1.5

Alternative 1
(f)   By June 2010, full agreement to, and compliance with, an enhanced Cap in accordance with NWI deadlines and requirements. OR

Focus on the Risks to Shared Water Resources (RSWR) Program has escalated since July 2006. MDBC has now agreed to development of a strategy to address the risks to shared water resources by September 2007. A RSWR Symposium, to be held July 2007, aims to gain jurisdictional agreement to preferred policy responses to the six identified risk factors and thus form the basis of this strategy.

Development of policy options for consideration at the RSWR Symposium during 2006–07 included the following:

  • an overview of the statutory framework for the RSWR in each jurisdiction
  • a detailed analysis of regulatory frameworks for the management of groundwater, farm dams and afforestation by the Jurisdictional Risk Coordinators
  • identification and assessment of groundwater policy options through a jurisdictional workshop
  • formation of the Farm Dams Taskforce to provide policy advice for farm dams including monitoring, evaluation, auditing and reporting requirements, and
  • development of a series of discussion papers, analysing each of the risks and the RSWR Program as a whole and proposing potential policy responses.

In addition, work has commenced on the development of a water resource accounting framework through the Water Accounting Development Committee a collaborative venture between MDBC and the National Water Commission in order to deliver on the requirements of the NWI.

Alternative 2
(g)   Full compliance with the Cap on surface water diversions, and finalisation of other valley caps within the Basin. AND
By end 2008, full agreement to, and compliance with, integrated accounting of surface and groundwater, in accordance with NWI deadlines and requirements and considering a range of options to address the impacts of risks to water resources, which may include an enhanced Cap.

Strategy 1.3

(h)   Across the Basin, full compliance each year with End of Valley salinity targets and maintenance of salinity registers in net credit, confirmed through annual audits.

Data on monitoring EoV sites is included in BSMS annual reports; however it has yet to be agreed how this data
should be interpreted in a ‘compliance report’. The usefulness and effectiveness of the EoV targets is being considered
as part of the Mid-Term Review to be finalised by 31 December 2007.

The Salinity Registers as presented at Council 42 – 25 May 2007 are in net credit.

Strategy 1.3

(i)   71 EC salinity mitigation impact on target to be achieved by 2012 (61 EC by June 2010).

The BSMS Joint Works program (SIS) is on track to deliver the 61 EC by 2010.

The additional 10 EC was anticipated to come from within valley actions (including the Mallee Zone as a valley) being undertaken by the States. A process for allocating Valley action benefits to the Registers has yet to be agreed. These are matters under consideration in the Mid-Term Review to be finalised by 31 December 2007.

Strategy 1.3

(j)   Demonstrated reduction in costs of salt peaks by 25% by June 2010.

Managing Salt Peaks can be achieved through both SIS and dilution flows. The contributions of SIS are quantified in the Registers. An approach to using dilution flows in collaboration with TLM has been identified and quantified but not yet agreed. The need for periodic review of the salinity cost functions has been raised as an issue to be considered under the BSMS Mid-Term Review.

Strategy 1.3

(k)   Annual compliance with the Basin Salinity Target to maintain salinity levels in the Murray River at Morgan in South Australia, below 800 EC for 95% of the time.

Performance against targets requires a comparison of current conditions modelled over the 25 year BSMS benchmark period of 1975 to 2000. The outcome for 2007 conditions is a salinity of 876 EC or less for 95% of the time. This is not within the BSMS target. Further actions are therefore required to meet the salinity targets of the BSMS by 2015.

Strategy 1.4, 1.5 & 3.4

(l)   Annual integrated reports on the condition of, and risks to, the Basin’s natural resources used in Commission and Council decision making.

The SRA Implementation Report for 2005–06 prepared by the Independent Sustainable Rivers Audit Group was tabled at Council meeting in May 2007 and endorsed for distribution to partner governments. Following Commission approval, the sampling data from the second full year of monitoring are now available to the  public.

A demonstration Integrated Basin Report has been reviewed by the working group for submission to NRM Committee. Ongoing development of this milestone will occur until end of June 2007.

The Risks to Shared Water Resources Program is contributing to this process through improving knowledge and data related to the currently identified risks (refer Objective 1(f) & (g)).

Strategy 1.6

(m)   Net improvement in key native fish populations and distribution across the Basin by June 2010.

Significant progress in terms of:

  • international recognition of the Sea to Hume Dam fish passage program, which continues to facilitate tens of thousands of fish through the combination of world’s best practice engineering with biological and hydrological expertise, supported by rigorous monitoring. For example more than 20,000 juvenile silver perch passed through the Torrumbarry fishway in Jan–Feb 2007, with up to 2200 fish passing per day
  • more than 600km of river earmarked for inclusion in demonstration reaches, with more than $4m in inkind and other funding attracted from governments, communities and the private sector
  • more than $1m investment in alien species research and management, for both established species (eg. Carp) as well as potential invaders (eg. Tilapia). Promising developments in genetic control technologies, water level manipulation and standard harvesting techniques will lead to improved management and reduction of alien species abundance
  • significant advances in understanding of key issues in native fish management, such as response of fish to environmental flows, impacts of irrigation practices on fish, and new technologies for discriminating stocked and wild fish, and
  • increased community understanding and engagement in native fish management through the continued efforts of the Native Fish Strategy’s Community Stakeholder Task Force with activities such as Native Fish Awareness Week.

Objective 2: Efficient and equitable delivery of water for productive and sustainable domestic consumption, environmental benefit and economic use.
Existing performance indicator Report on progress against performance indicator
Strategy 2.1 & 2.3

(a)   Delivery of state shares of available water (for domestic consumption and economic use) in 100% of instances.

State shares of available water were delivered at all times.

There were no constraints preventing full delivery of available water to states.

Supplementary Information:

RMW Production met the state’s water delivery requirements at all times whilst in the grips of an extreme drought. In close consultation with the Water Liaison Working Group, advice and options were provided to a senior officers group regarding the development of special water sharing arrangements between the states whilst water resources remain critically low.

Key activities undertaken to achieve the objectives included:

  • management of MDBC water accounts in accordance with the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement
  • management of water availability assessments for NSW, Victoria and South Australia in accordance with the Agreement
  • preparation of annual operating plans for the Murray River system, updated at least monthly
  • day-to-day operation of the Murray River system to meet consumptive and environmental objectives
  • communication of key issues with the Water Liaison Working Group, River Murray Water Committee, Commission and Ministerial Council
  • communication of key issues with the community through the Drought Update, Operations Update and Weekly Report, as well as specific media releases
  • communication of key issues regarding environmental management through the Commission’s Environmental Watering Group and environmental delivery teams
  • greater emphasis was placed on the data management functions which involved an organisational restructure within RMW, and
  • initiation of drought contingency operations including the establishment of reduced minimum river flow rates and ‘loss’ minimisation by for example the disconnection of some wetlands.
Strategy 1.1
TLM also contributes to objective 2.

(b)   Demonstrated track record in each year of responding to environmental watering opportunities, consistent with the Basin Environmental Watering Plan and the outcomes of the six Significant Ecological Assets Plans.

Significant progress has been made in responding to environmental watering opportunities. 2006–07 was the first year in which a water bid process was run to determine priorities for water use across the icon sites. The process considered the ecological merit of projects across a range of inflow scenarios.

The result for 2006–07 has been the allocation of 33.5 GL of environmental water (from a possible 34.8 GL) across three icon sites to achieve River red gum watering – crucial during the current drought – and releases of water through the barrages fishways.

This represents significant progress since 2005–06 when water was split three ways between state jurisdictions.

Strategy 1.2
Management of the Cap also contributes to objective 2.

(c)   Full compliance with Cap, confirmed through annual audits.

Queensland Cap proposals for Warrego, Paroo, Moonie and Nebine in progress. Cap proposals for the Border rivers and Condamine Balonne should be ready by the end of the year.

ACT is likely to put a Cap proposal to the IAG annual audit during October 2007.

All valleys except Barwon-Darling/Lower Darling of NSW were within Cap in 2005–06. Annual audits completed and published each year

Schedule F is being amended for several purposes including implementation of past Council–Commission decisions and updating of recent developments in Queensland Cap.

Strategy 1.2, 2.1, 2.4
Management of the Cap also contributes to objective 2.

(d)   Improved measurement of shared water resources across the Basin, as required by NWI.

The first stage of the two-stage Land Surface Diversion Project has been completed. On-farm water balance using on-ground measurements has been recommended as the preferred approach to estimating land-surface diversions. The second stage of the Land Surface Diversions Project is being established that will involve field trial of the on-farm water balance approach on 12 farms in Queensland and NSW. In addition a project is being established to investigate the potential of remote sensing techniques in estimating land surface diversions.

Strategy 2.2

(e)   NWI directions on barrier-free market arrangements for open, interstate water trade across the southern connected Basin achieved, as required by NWI.

Since 1 July 2006, interstate water trade has been implemented in accordance with Schedule E to the Murray-Darling Basin agreement within the southern connected Murray-Darling Basin as follows:

  • allocation trade between New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC), South Australia (SA)
  • entitlement exchange rate trade between VIC and SA.

The Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council determined in May 2007 that tagged trading commence 1 July 2007 while allowing exchange rate trade to continue.

A new Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) interstate water trade exchange rate entitlement transfer register was developed and implemented (pursuant to clause 16 of Schedule E). This register operates through the MDBC website and allows water authorities within the jurisdictions of VIC and SA to directly access and input information on entitlement transfers.

Commission approved a Schedule E ‘Processing interstate transfers of water allocations (temporary transfers)’ protocol in December 2006 to ensure that interstate temporary transfers are processed in a consistent manner and that state accounts are reconcilable.

During 2006–07 Commission considered and approved amendments to the following Schedule E exchange rate entitlement protocols:

  • calculating Cap adjustments
  • processing interstate exchange rate transfers
  • restrictions of transfers between trading zones
  • access, exit and termination fees.
Strategy 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5
BSMS also contributes to objective 2.

(f)   Be within the top one-third of water asset managers in Australia by June 2010.

Data is being gathered from three owners holding a large portfolio of dams from across Australia to establish a benchmark for River Murray Water’s performance. There are difficulties in obtaining data due to lack of resources and some hesitancy by the three organisations due to commercial sensitivities. Data has been obtained from all three however, they group and report costs and performance in slightly different ways. Hence comparison with each other and with RMW will require a level of subjective interpretation. Early indications are that RMW is on a par with the other three. A final report is expected late June early July 2007.

Strategy 2.3  

(g)   For large dams, measurable improvement each year until 100% compliant with Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) Guidelines.

The first assessment of the Significant Hazard (or greater Hazard) dams for compliance with ANCOLD Guidelines was completed mid 2006 and reported to the RMW Committee in August 2006. The next annual assessment will be undertaken mid 2007.

In 2006–07 a portfolio risk assessment, in accordance with ANCOLD Risk Assessment Guidelines, was undertaken for RMW’s five major storages. Outputs from this report will enable a more rigorous assessment of the most critical structures against ANCOLD criteria and how they improve from year to year.

Objective 3: Delivery of high quality advice to Council, and achievement of its endorsed priorities, through strengthened capacity of the Commission and the Commission Office.
Existing performance indicator Report on progress against performance indicator
Strategy 3.2, 3.3 & 3.6
(a)   Ministerial Council satisfied with quality and timeliness of advice, that decisions have been implemented effectively and that its Community Advisory Committee has been provided with appropriate information and has been well supported (all measured annually). Customer Survey framework (electronic) under development – pilot through CAC and Contact Officers September 2007.
Strategy 3.1 & 3.6
(b)   Commissioner satisfaction with Commission Office’s secretariat services, budget development, and management and performance reporting, to reach 9/10 by 2007. Customer Survey framework (electronic) under development – pilot through Contact Officers September 2007.
(c)   Revised governance and committee structure in place by December 2005. Completed on time and within budget.
Strategy 3.2
(d)   Staff satisfaction survey improvement year on year. Staff Survey developed – held over pending clarification of governance arrangements.
(e)   Zero long-term injury frequency rate in each year. Zero long-term injuries for Commission office staff achieved 2006–07