The Murray-Darling Basin Authority today released the quarterly update on progress to assess and accredit the key building blocks of sustainable water management in the Basin-the water resource plans.
The December report shows the 13 water resource plans in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT catchments are now accredited and operational, and assessment of the 20 New South Wales plans is steadily progressing.
MDBA Executive Director, Basin Plan Implementation, Tim Goodes said the MDBA was pulling out all stops to assess NSW plans and that this would occur as efficiently as possible, but the process was challenging due to the volume of reports and scrutiny required.
“We must assess each plan against the 55 requirements in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which ensure water across the Basin and within each catchment is shared fairly and in the national interest,” Mr Goodes said.
“We are assessing these plans methodically and working closely with NSW to achieve plans that are fit for purpose for the long-term health of communities and industries.
“This includes making sure planned environmental water is protected and water take is accounted for.
“We have provided open feedback every step of the way to ensure an efficient and transparent process. It has resulted in the withdrawal of the proposed Lachlan River plan by NSW to bring the plan into line with Basin Plan requirements. This is not unusual-all water resource plans have required changes before they could be recommended to the Minister for Water for accreditation.
“As an independent agency, we treat each plan the same to give communities confidence that the Basin’s water resources are being managed consistently and fairly from the top of the Basin to the bottom.”
The MDBA will continue to seek advice from Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations and Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations in relation to the ‘Indigenous values and uses’ component of each plan, as it has done with all other plans.
The MDBA is giving high priority to this work over the coming year. The quarterly report can be found on the MDBA website: Water resource plans – December 2020 quarterly report