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Altered Proposed Basin Plan

The last iteration of the Plan has been reviewed by the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council (Ministers from each of the States impacted by the Plan).  Some additional changes were made to the Plan, the key ones being:

  • The scope for reducing the SDL reduction amount if works or measures increase the quantity of water in the system before any take.
  • The above gives rise to what is known in the Plan as 'adjustment units'. These can be positive or negative so the SDL could go up or down.
  • The development of a Constraints Management Plan to identify constraints to delivery of environmental water within 12 months of the commencement of the Plan.

This latest version of the Plan can be found here: http://download.mdba.gov.au/altered-PBP/APBP-Proposed-Basin-Plan-20120806.pdf

What are the Environmental Water Requirements in Our Region Now?

The tables below summarises the additional environmental water being sought for each of the three catchments in our region (Border Rivers, Namoi and Gwydir).  It also illustrates how some of these requirements have changed during the three iterations of the Murray Darling Basin Plan to date.

Plan Version Baseline Diversion Limit (GL/y) Local Environmental Reduction Required (GL/y) Shared (Downstream) Reduction Required (GL/y)* Long Term Sustainable Diversion Limit (GL/y) Local Reduction Achieved (GL/y) Local Reduction Gap Remaining (GL/y)

Qld Border Rivers

Nov 2011 320 8 ? 312-? 7 1
May 2012 & Aug 2012 320 8 ? 312-? 4 4

NSW Border Rivers

Nov 2011 & May 2102 303 7 ? 296-? 0.1 6.9
Aug 2012 303 7 ? 296-? 4.6 2.4


Nov 2011 & May 2102 508 10 ? 498-? 5 5
Aug 2012 508 10 ? 498-? 17 -7 **


Nov 2011, May 2012 & Aug 2012 450 42 0 408 42 0

* The contribution to downstream flows are unspecified and will be determined by the amount of water offered for sale by licence holders.  Consequently, the long term SDL is unknown.

** In the Namoi, more than enough local reduction has already occurred.  This additional water may be deducted from the downstream (shared) reduction amount.

*** Sufficient environmental water has already been recovered in the Gwydir through buy-backs, so no more reductions in the SDL are needed.

Northern Basin Advisory Committee

The other recent major development has been the formation of the Northern Basin Advisory Committee (NBAC) by the MDBA.

This is in recognition of the unique features of the Northern Basin.  The NBAC has been established to provide regional community views on Basin Plan matters covering the entire Basin upstream of the Menindee Lakes.

The NBAC will advise the MDBA on:

  1. The development and implementation of an MDBA Northern Basin work program initially covering the next three years. This work program could address:
    i. improved modelling or ecological analysis;
    ii. ways of delivering environmental outcomes more efficiently;
    iii. social or economic impacts.
  2. Community and other proposals intended to achieve water savings and/or improve environmental outcomes in the northern Basin, including:
    i. any implications for sustainable diversion limits (SDLs);
    ii. economic, environmental and social issues;
    iii. potential synergies with other proposals..
  3. Possible changes to management and operational rules that could result in water savings and/or improve environmental outcomes, including the need to address any third party impacts.
  4. Northern Basin water-related environmental management and cultural practices.
  5. Any other matters relating to the Basin Plan’s implementation by MDBA.
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