Programs in the Murray-Darling Basin

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.

Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program

Through the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program the Australian Government is providing $5.3 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.

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

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.