Significant progress has been made towards improving the health of rivers, waterways and freshwater ecosystems; progressing the national water reform agenda, and promoting efficient and productive use of water by agriculture and related industries. Some highlights of 2010–11 include:
- At 30 June 2011, 1 118 gigalitres of water entitlements were secured through the Water for the Future initiative to ‘bridge the gap’ between future sustainable diversion limits and existing water diversions in the Murray-Darling Basin. These entitlements will provide on average, 796 gigalitres of water for the environment each year.
- Delivering 387 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water—more than double the amount of the previous year—which capitalised on the environmental benefits of rainfall and enhanced river flows and floodplain inundation events. More than 553 gigalitres of water has now been delivered to the environment since Commonwealth environmental watering began.
- Promoting fairer and more efficient water trades in the Murray-Darling Basin through the Water Charge (Planning and Management Information) Rules and Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules, which came into effect on 1 July 2011 and 12 January 2011 respectively.
- Investing in a variety of urban water infrastructure projects to diversify and secure water supplies in urban areas, including stormwater harvesting and re-use and recycling.
- Starting research programs by the National Centres’ of Excellence in Desalination and Water Recycling.