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About Commonwealth environmental water

As part of a suite of national water reforms, the Australian Government created the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder through the Water Act 2007:

“The functions of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder are to be performed for the purpose of protecting or restoring the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin ... so as to give effect to relevant international agreements.”

Commonwealth water holdings are the direct result of government purchases of entitlements and a substantial investment in more efficient water infrastructure in the Murray Darling Basin. Refer to: Rural water.

The planning, prioritisation, use and monitoring and evaluation of Commonwealth environmental water is informed by a range of stakeholders including the Department of the Environment and other Commonwealth and State government agencies, scientists, catchment and local natural resource management agencies, environmental water advisory groups, water user associations, Indigenous communities and local landholders.

Following the ratification of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on 21 November 2012, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s decisions on water use, carryover and trade have been made in the context of, and consistent with, the Basin Plan’s Environmental Watering Plan, and annual priorities.​

Water holdings

As at 31 August 2015, the Commonwealth environmental water holdings total 2,372,074 megalitres of registered entitlements with a Long term average annual yield of 1,645,565 megalitres.

For more information see:

Figures as at 31 August - full details of current Commonwealth environmental water holdings registered entitlements available on the How much is there page in this section

Water Use

The figure below shows water availability and water use as at 30 June each year from 2008-09 to 2014-15, and as at 31 August for 2015-16. As at  31 August 2015, over  4,769 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water has now been delivered to rivers, wetlands and floodplains of the Murray-Darling Basin.

For detailed information on water delivered in each catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin, see the Water use page for each individual Catchment.

Figures as at 30 June each year from 2008-09 to 2013-14 - full details of current Water Availability and Water Use available on other How much has been delivered page in in this section