Prerequisite policy measures is a term that refers to actions which are put in place to:
- protect environmental flows throughout the length of the river and between rivers from extraction, re-regulation or substitution
- allow water for the environment to be released on top of other instream flows, including during unregulated flow events.
When setting the Sustainable Diversion Limit, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority assumed that the actions to deliver the above outcomes would be in place to allow the maximum environmental benefit from use of the Commonwealth’s licensed environmental water. Without this implementation, more water would be required to meet the environmental outcomes of the Basin Plan, leaving less for consumptive purposes.
Prerequisite policy measures are applied during the operation of the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) Adjustment Mechanism in the Basin Plan. The extent to which these actions were implemented by 30 June 2019 in the River Murray and the Murrumbidgee, will affect the size of any SDL adjustment in 2019 and 2024.
Implementation of prerequisite policy measures in South Australia focused on detailing processes and procedures and making information publicly available to improve transparency.
South Australia provided documentation to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in June 2019 and the MDBA has assessed the measures and determined that they were in effect as of July 2019.
An overview of arrangements and policies used to implement prerequisite policy measures in South Australia is provided below. Further refinements of the policy settings will continue as part of the adaptive management approach to improving environmental water arrangements in the Basin.
Overview of arrangements and mechanisms used to implement Prerequisite Policy Measures in South Australia
Unregulated Flow Policy
Transmission Losses Policy
Return Flow Policy
Policy for Minister’s Reserve Licence
South Australian River Murray Long-Term Environmental Watering Plan
South Australia’s River Murray Annual Operating Plan 2019-20