· The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has released the Basin Plan draft Sustainable Diversion Limit adjustment determination report for public comment
· The proposed SDL adjustment means Basin Plan environmental outcomes can be achieved with a 605 gigalitre reduction in water recovery in the southern Basin
· The draft determination shows the implementation of the Basin Plan is on track
A significant milestone for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been achieved with the release by the Murray Darling Basin Authority of the Plan’s draft Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment determination for public consultation.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce has welcomed the draft determination saying it clearly shows the Plan is delivering for Basin communities and the environment.
“The determination measures the effectiveness of environmental projects by the basin states, showing they will deliver the Basin Plan’s environmental outcomes with less water,” Minister Joyce said.
“The MDBA’s assessment of projects has determined that 605 gigalitres of water recovery can now be ‘offset’ by the projects while achieving Basin Plan environmental outcomes.
“What this outcome means for Basin communities and irrigators is more certainty and more water remaining in production.
“This is great for the environment, and a positive for the economies of basin communities.
“An offset outcome of 605 gigalitres, combined with the delivery of remaining contracted water recovery projects, will be enough to fully offset the remaining water recovery ‘gap’ in the southern Basin.
“This is excellent news for farmers and for the health of the Basin.
“All Basin jurisdictions through the Basin Officials Committee have expressed support for the draft outcome, providing evidence that the Basin Plan is well on-track,” Minister Joyce said
Minister Joyce said proposing the SDL adjustment is just the start of the process and Basin governments are committed to ongoing consultation with Basin communities.
The MDBA is inviting the public to comment on the draft determination report and submissions can be made through the MDBA website from 3 October to 3 November 2017.
“I look forward to receiving the final determination in December,” Minister Joyce said.
· The Basin Plan sets Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs), which determine how much water can be used in the Murray-Darling Basin, while leaving enough water for a healthy river system.
· The SDL Adjustment Mechanism was incorporated into the Basin Plan at the request of Basin water ministers in 2012 to provide flexibility in the way the SDLs are met and to improve the social, economic and environmental outcomes of the Basin Plan.
· The Mechanism takes into account more efficient ways to deliver water for the environment, as well as scope to enhance environmental outcomes through more efficient ways to use water in industries and communities.
· The Mechanism includes 36 proposed projects to be delivered in the period to 2024.