Environmental water planning

Basin-wide environmental watering strategy 

The Basin-wide environmental watering strategy was published by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in November 2014. The strategy guides environmental water holders and Basin governments in planning the management of environmental watering over the long-term to meet environmental objectives.  

Importantly, the strategy provides for environmental outcomes for the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth.

Basin annual environmental watering priorities 

The Basin annual environmental watering priorities guide the planning of environmental watering across the Basin each year and build on local, regional and state priorities. 

They aim to: 

  • achieve the most effective use of environmental water
  • promote better environmental outcomes across the Basin
  • coordinate watering between environmental water holders and water managers. 

As part of the development of the priorities, the MDBA publishes an annual outlook for environmental watering. The outlook includes a snapshot of recent, past and future forecast climate for the Basin, surface water availability and achievements over the preceding year. 

This year's outlook describes seasonal and ecosystem conditions and provides an early indication of the likely watering priorities.

 

Long-term environmental watering plans

Long-term watering plans provide long-term objectives and strategies for managing environmental water and inform decisions around the prioritisation and delivery of environmental water recovered under the Basin Plan. 

South Australia is required to develop long-term environmental watering plans for three water resource plan areas: 

  • South Australian River Murray
  • Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges (which includes the Marne Saunders Prescribed water resources area)
  • South Australian Murray region (which covers groundwater and surface water in the remainder of the SA Murray-Darling Basin including the Coorong and an extensive area north of the River Murray)

View a map of the water resource plan areas.  

South Australian River Murray 

The long-term environmental watering plan for the South Australian River Murray water resource plan was completed in November 2015 to guide water delivery to support the health of River Murray environments, including the Ramsar-listed Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region.

The South Australian River Murray long-term environmental watering plan describes the pattern of water delivery needed for many years into the future to support the health of this ecosystem.

It covers the main River Murray channel, its floodplain and wetlands, and the Ramsar-listed Coorong, Lakes and Murray Mouth region. The long-term plan will be used during annual planning and decision-making around the delivery of water that has been recovered for the environment.

Long-term environmental watering plans are currently being developed for the two other water resource plan areas – the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges and the South Australian Murray region. 

Annual environmental watering priorities

The Basin Plan requires Basin states to identify the annual environmental watering priorities for the following year and submit these to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) by 31 May.

South Australia is required to annual environmental water priorities for three water resource plan areas: 

  • South Australian River Murray
  • Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges (which includes the Marne Saunders Prescribed water resources area)
  • South Australian Murray region (which covers groundwater and surface water in the remainder of the SA Murray-Darling Basin including the Coorong and an extensive area north of the River Murray) 

View a map of the water resource plan areas. 

South Australian River Murray

An annual environmental watering plan is also prepared for the South Australian River Murray water resource plan area, in addition to the annual priorities.

The annual environmental watering plan contains the agreed South Australian program for environmental water delivery along the River Murray in South Australia (including the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth).

The plan is subject to extensive consultation and guides where environmental watering should occur within the respective water year, taking into account the climate outlook and environmental conditions.

Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges

South Australian Murray Region