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Sustainable limits on water use

Ensuring a balance between the water needs of communities, industries and the environment is key to achieving a healthy, working Basin. 

The Basin Plan sets new long-term average sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) that reflect an environmentally sustainable level of water use (or 'take'). 

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has estimated that the Basin-wide long-term average SDL for surface water is 10,873 gigalitres (billion litres) per year. 

This represents a reduction of 2750 gigalitres per year from the baseline diversion level (BDL) measures in 2009.

Current total consumptive use is above this level and water recovery for the environment is necessary to achieve the balance of environmental, social and environmental outcomes. 

The recovered water will be used to improve and maintain the health of rivers, lakes, major wetlands and floodplains within the Basin and support prosperity of river communities, the long-term viability and productivity of river-dependent industries and the quality of life for all South Australians. 

The SDLs will become effective from 1 July 2019 and will be implemented through state water resource plans.



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