Murray-Darling Basin Authority Communique 29 April


At its meeting on 28-29 April 2022 on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra), the Murray-Darling Basin Authority noted the meeting was held during federal caretaker period. The meeting was chaired by Sir Angus Houston.

The Authority noted a summary of the water resource outlook for autumn and winter in the Basin. The La Nina weather pattern, which has filled the dams right across the Basin, is expected to linger into winter. The MDBA’s careful management of Hume Dam and Dartmouth Dam (at 86% and 93% respectively) will continue through winter. River operators will be keeping a vigilant watch on any need to reduce the risk of flooding by making pre-emptive releases to create airspace while keeping local communities well informed.

Across the Basin, storage levels are all unusually high for this time of year, particularly in the north, and this is supporting full allocations for water users. Storages are at 89% for the whole Basin. Members also noted that the MDBA will not need to draw water from Menindee Lakes any time soon.

Much of the focus of the meeting considered progress of implementation of the Basin Plan as well as preparation for the Basin Plan Evaluation and Review.

As is well known, some Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) projects are at risk of not being completed by the legislated timeframe of 2024. There is understandably increasing community concern about the potential shortfall, a sentiment shared by the MDBA. In 2017, the MDBA determined that implementing the 36 supply measures proposed by state governments would allow 605 GL of additional water to remain available for consumptive use, while still achieving the same or better environmental outcomes. These projects are to be completed by 30 June 2024. If they are not completed by then, the MDBA is required to conduct a ‘SDLAM reconciliation’.

To help inform the Authority’s decision making between now and 30 June 2024, members agreed to ongoing annual assurance reporting on SDLAM measures and other technical preparations. This overarching approach is supported by Basin states.

Members discussed and endorsed the MDBA’s high-level preparation that’s underway on three critical undertakings to inform the Basin’s water management future – the Murray-Darling Basin Outlook, the 2025 Evaluation and 2026 Basin Plan Review

/Public Release. View in full here.