Programs in the Murray-Darling Basin


On 21 September 2015, responsibility for water policy and resources was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Administrative Arrangement Order made on 21 September 2015.

This website will be updated to reflect these changes.

Across the Murray-Darling Basin, governments are supporting irrigators, communities and industries to do more with the water they have.

Some water currently used for human purposes in the Murray-Darling Basin needs to be recovered and returned to the environment to restore its health and underpin a sustainable future for its industries.

The Australia Governments is undertaking water recovery efforts for this purpose. The water recovery will also mean that no-one's water entitlement will be cut as a result of the Basin Plan.

The funding priority until the mid-term review of the Basin Plan will be infrastructure rather than purchasing water.

Commonwealth On-Farm Further Irrigation Efficiency Program

The Australian Government is committed to assisting irrigators modernise their on-farm irrigation infrastructure to improve or maintain farm productivity while enabling the water savings to be returned to the environment. Projects will support an efficient and modernised irrigation industry while also benefitting the environment by returning water to the Basin’s rivers.

The Commonwealth On-Farm Further Irrigation Efficiency Program (COFFIE Program) is additional to existing programs under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program.

Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program

The Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program (SRWUIP) is a national programme investing in rural water use, management and efficiency, including improved water knowledge and market reform, and water purchase for the environment. It is the key mechanism to ‘bridge the gap’ to the sustainable diversion limits under the Murray Darling Basin Plan and consists of three main components: irrigation infrastructure projects; water purchase and supply measures.

South Australian River Murray Sustainability Program

The Australian Government has committed funding of up to $265 million for the South Australian River Murray Sustainability Program which is administered by the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions. The Program aims to increase the efficiency and productivity of South Australian businesses, and secure and return 36 gigalitres of long term annual average yield ‘gap bridging’ water to the Commonwealth for environmental water use.

Environmental watering

Since environmental watering by the Commonwealth first took place in 2009, there has been more than 1,000 GL of environmental water delivered by the Commonwealth. Videos on the Commonwealth Environmental Water website showcase the diverse nature of environmental watering, the stakeholders engaged, as well as the environmental benefits.

Other Government programs

Other Government programs include:

  • Living Murray Initiative: This program was established to help improve the health of the River Murray, with a focus on six icon sites that are internationally significant wetlands supporting a rich biodiversity. The program is managed by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.