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 porpose. The water recovery will also mean that no-one's water entitlement will be cut a s result of the Basin Plan.
The funding priority until the mid-term review of the Basin Plan will be infrastructure rather than purchasing water.
Through the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program the Australian Government is providing $5.2 billion for infrastructure projects and water management in the Murray–Darling Basin such as:
- improvements to infrastructure planning so that irrigation network operators and local governments can prioritise and plan for upgrades
- improvements to distribution networks to fix old systems or rationalise channel delivery systems
- investments in more efficient on-farm irrigation technology
- resource assessments to support smart water management.
These projects benefit the economy by making irrigation more productive, improve the health of our rivers and wetlands by returning water to the environment and support communities to thrive by putting water use on a sustainable footing. They also have the added bonuses of supporting local businesses, modernising farm technology, making irrigation more efficient and increasing food security, all while returning water to the environment.
Information about sustainable rural water use projects in the Murray-Darling Basin is available via the Water for the Future initiatives – interactive map.
Water entitlement purchasing
Buying back water entitlements is another means of recovery. The Australian Government has announced that the findings proirity until the mid term review in 2015 will be infrastructure rather than water purchase.
For more information see: Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin
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.
- Strengthening Basin Communities Program: Under this program, grants will be available for local governments in the Murray–Darling Basin to assist them in community-wide planning for a future with less water, and invest in water savings initiatives.
- Sustainable Yields project: The Australian Government commissioned the CSIRO to undertake assessments to provide the latest estimates of current and future water availability in the Murray–Darling Basin and as well as Tasmania, Western Australia and northern Australia.
Murray-Darling Basin Plan
The Australian Government has delivered a historic plan to better meet the future water needs of the environment, communities and industry in the vital Murray-Darling Basin. >> Watch Video
Find out more about the Basin Plan.
- Fact sheet: Planning and use of Commonwealth environmental water
- Basin case studies: the socio-economic impacts of sustainable diversion limits and Water for the Future investments - An assessment at a local scale
- Fact sheet: Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism
- Fact sheet: Australian Government investment in enhanced environmental outcomes
- Fact sheet: Environmental flow delivery constraints
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