Basin Plan report card paints clearer picture as 2024 deadline nears


The latest assessment of progress to implement the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has found only minor movement in the past 6 months, with important elements at risk or unlikely to be achieved by the June 2024 deadline.

Chief Executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Andrew McConville said progress in some areas was overshadowed by lack of advancement in others.

“The Basin Plan needs to be fully implemented if it’s to achieve the outcomes we’re seeking for a healthy and sustainable Basin for all communities. It is becoming clear what will and won’t be achieved by June next year,” Mr McConville said.

In line with the MDBA’s commitment to transparency, the ninth report card provides a clear picture of the status and progress on five areas of the Basin Plan: water resource plans, water recovery, Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism measures, Northern Basin initiatives and the delivery of water for the environment.

“Since the July 2022 report card, we have seen some progress with 4 New South Wales water resource plans accredited for groundwater resources. However, the dial remains firmly on the red because there is still a way to go to get all the WRPs accredited,” Mr McConville said.

“The dial for some projects under the Sustainable Diversion Limit adjustment mechanism also remains on red. Of the 36 supply and constraints projects, 22 are likely to be operable, 8 are on the cusp of delivery and 6 will not be delivered as originally proposed by 30 June 2024.

“We’ve seen positive outcomes from good planning and delivery of environmental water across the Basin – this is critically important and underpins the very foundation of the Basin Plan to support the health of rivers, floodplains and wetlands. The focus of the past 6 months has been to support bird breeding events and to improve water quality where floods have resulted in low oxygen levels.”

Mr McConville said some of the northern Basin toolkit measures in the northern Murray-Darling Basin were running behind schedule, with one measure in particular highly unlikely to be delivered on time.

“These important initiatives are intended to protect water for the environment, improve compliance with water laws and create opportunities for local communities, including First Nations People. It is in everyone’s interest that greater headway is made towards completing the northern Basin toolkit measures.”

The Basin Plan Report Card is available on the MDBA website at:


The Basin Plan was agreed by the Australian Government and the governments of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. It is a major reform agenda that was created to improve and protect the health of the rivers for future generations, while continuing to support farming and other industries, for the benefit of the Australian community.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is being implemented over a transition period to 2024 to allow time for Basin states, communities and the Australian Government to work together to manage the changes required for a healthy working Basin. The Basin Plan is an ongoing commitment. In accordance with legislative requirements, the Plan will be formally evaluated in 2025 and reviewed in 2026 by the MDBA.

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