A Murray-Darling Basin Authority report has found 605Gl of water could become available for consumptive use should three dozen efficiency programs be approved.
The Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism: Draft Determination Report, released last week, has determined that 605Gl of the initially proposed 650Gl sustainable diversion limit can be achieved through implementing the 36 projects nominated by the Victorian, NSW and South Australian governments.
As of June 30 this year, 74 per cent of the required basin-wide recovery had been achieved, including 74 per cent of the water recovered in the northern basin and 75 per cent in the southern basin.
The authority advised that the proposed 605Gl of offsets, together with remaining contracted water recovery, would be enough to fully offset the remaining water recovery gap in the southern basin.
MDBA environmental management executive director Carl Binning said the projects included new infrastructure to enable river managers to get water to important environmental sites such as red gum and black box floodplains communities.
‘‘Should the projects be implemented, this would mean more water can remain in the system for other users, including households and industry, and no further water recovery will be required in the souther basin,’’ Mr Binning said.
‘‘The basin plan also allows for up to a further 450Gl of water to be made available to the environment through improved water use efficiency. Efficiency projects must be implemented by 2024 and have neutral or better socio-economic outcomes.’’
Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville welcomed the news.
‘‘This is a good step forward in delivering a plan that works for everyone for the whole basin community, for all water users including farmers, regional communities and the environment,’’ she said.
The Victorian Government has estimated nine of the proposed environmental project would help to bring about $320million to northern Victoria in the form of local investment and jobs.
■The MDBA is calling for public feedback on the proposed SDL adjustment. Interested parties can provide feedback until Friday, November 3 by visiting: www.getinvolved.mdba.gov.au/SDLAM