Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Requirements for SDL adjustment projects

The Murray‐Darling Basin Plan is an agreement to recover 3,200 GL of environmental water or equivalent outcomes to help restore the health of the Murray‐Darling Basin. Under Chapter 7 of the Basin Plan, this volume may be reduced if state governments can demonstrate alternative ways of delivering similar outcomes for the environment, as part of a process known as the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment. In December 2017, the Australian Government tabled in Parliament an amendment to the Basin Plan (Basin Plan Amendment (SDL Adjustments) Instrument 2017) which increased the SDL by 605GL on the basis of 36 projects proposed by state governments. Our recent assessment found only one project was consistent with the requirements of the Basin Plan and related agreements. On the basis of this assessment, we compiled advice on the specific project requirements and legislative changes which would allow states to modify their projects in line with the Basin Plan, and restore credibility to the SDL adjustment process.

Author

Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists