The Wentworth Group conducted a study to evaluate whether environmental water recovery has led to observable increases in river flows at two key sites along the Murray-Darling Basin. This assessment found that despite 2,016 GL of water being recovered for the environment (63% of that envisaged under the Basin Plan) at a cost of $8.5 billion, and during the relatively wet period from 2010-2018:
- Environmental flow targets set by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, which are required to be met to produce environmental improvements, have failed to be achieved.
- In general, excluding natural flood events, annual average flows can be up to 40% to 60% smaller than expected under the Basin Plan.
- In general, observed flows are similar to, or less than, the baseline (pre-Basin Plan) model results, revealing that instead of an increase there has actually been no improvement or even a decline in water flows since the implementation of the Basin Plan.
Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists