The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) Basin Plan establishes a new framework for managing the Basin’s water resources, including new roles and responsibilities for the MDBA, the Commonwealth Government and the Basin States. It will be put into effect through a number of key mechanisms, including an environmental watering plan as a framework for the use of water to achieve key environmental outcomes. Implementation of the Plan is a key priority within the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) Corporate Plan.
This project contributes to development of the first draft of the Long-Term Watering Plan (LTWP) for the South Australian River Murray water resource plan area. An LTWP is a requirement under Chapter 8 (Environmental Watering Plan) of the Basin Plan, and will be instrumental in supporting the allocation of environmental water to South Australian River Murray environmental assets. The Basin Plan requires LTWPs to identify priority assets and functions, ecological objectives and targets for these assets and functions, and environmental water requirements (EWRs) to meet these objectives and targets.
Prior to commencing this project, some work had been completed for the River Murray in South Australia, including the identification of approximately 130 key environmental assets (KEAs) based on criteria provided in the Basin Plan, and the identification of a suite of targets and EWRs for the broader floodplain and the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth asset. The MDBA also identified 18 hydrologic indicator sites, believed to be of greatest significance in defining the environmental water requirements for KEAs in the Murray Darling Basin (MDBA, 2010). Two indicator sites are located in South Australia: (i) Riverland–Chowilla Floodplain and (ii) the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth.
The project objectives were:
These objectives were all achieved through literature reviews, scientific workshops and hydrological modelling.
This project provided scientific knowledge to support DEWNR’s ecological objectives for the River Murray, strengthened leadership capacity in South Australia which informed integrated water management of the River Murray, and brought together team members from CSIRO, Adelaide University, SARDI and SA Water to assist DEWNR with high-level scientific advice which benefits the SA's management of the River Murray.