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Basin Plan monitoring and evaluation

Effective monitoring and evaluation of the Basin Plan will be critical to ensuring its objectives are achieved.

The South Australian Government is required to monitor and evaluate progress under the Basin Plan to ensure its objectives are achieved. The government reports both annually and five yearly to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on the water for the environment plan, water quality and salinity, water trading rules and water resource planning.

Visit the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's website for more information on Basin Plan monitoring and evaluation, and for copies of the Authority’s Basin Plan annual reports and six monthly report cards.

Basin Plan environmental outcomes 2020

South Australia has completed its evaluation on the achievement of environmental outcomes for our three Water Resource Plan Areas since implementation of the Basin Plan commenced.

This evaluation comes at an important time in the implementation of the Basin Plan and will support the continued work towards our full implementation of our Basin Plan obligations in 2024 and the upcoming review in 2026.

How SA evaluated achievement of environmental outcomes

In undertaking this evaluation, we have worked closely with technical experts and key stakeholders to evaluate the following questions:

  • Was this what we expected to see?
  • Why are we seeing these results?
  • How has the Basin Plan contributed to what we are seeing?
  • What is still to be done and what do we expect to see in the future?

Key findings from our evaluation for SA River Murray

The South Australian evaluation of environmental outcomes under the Basin Plan, 2020: Achievement of environmental outcomes, South Australian River Murray Water Resource Plan Area summarises our assessment and evaluation of the South Australian River Murray Water Resource Plan Area.

This evaluation demonstrates that:

  • The Basin Plan is working and water has been available for the environment during recent dry times. This has helped to improve the resilience of some critical habitats including the Lakes and Coorong and those parts of the floodplain that have been actively managed with infrastructure.
  • Implementation of the Basin Plan to date has supported:
    • Improved connectivity between the Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth with 10 years of continuous flow and increased barrage flows, providing critical pathways for movement and recruitment of key diadromous fish species.
    • Improvements in black bream and greenback flounder populations in the Murray estuary and Coorong and small-mouthed hardyhead in the Coorong.
    • Overbank and spring-summer flows, and more localised fast-flowing habitats which may have supported the recruitment and dispersal of Murray cod and an increase in food resources for these fish.
    • Improvements in the abundances, distribution and breeding of Lakes waterbird communities.
    • Supported managed floodplain inundations which has contributed to improvement in river red gum and black box condition within inundated areas.
  • Following the impacts of the Millennium Drought, we have seen some positive signs of recovery. We need to continue to build resilience to ensure our ecosystems can recover from future drought.
  • We have seen positive outcomes for the areas where water has been delivered for the environment.
  • To achieve broader scale outcomes, we need to increase the area that we can inundate and coordinate the delivery of water across the southern connected Basin.

Supporting technical information

The South Australian River Murray Evaluation Report and forthcoming Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges and South Australian Murray Region evaluation reports are underpinned by a substantial body of data and analysis available in the following technical reports: