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Water resource plans

The Basin Plan was agreed in 2012, and introduces new standards for water resource planning across the Murray-Darling Basin. 

Basin States must show how they are sustainably managing the water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin consistent with these new standards. One of the main ways to do this is by preparing water resource plans for the areas identified in the Basin Plan.


All water resource plans must be accredited by 30 June 2019.

If we manage our water well, together we will be able to enjoy sustainable access to good quality water and healthy rivers, wetlands and groundwater systems for generations to come.

What is a water resource plan?

A water resource plan demonstrates how Basin States manage their water to meet the standard set out in the Basin Plan, particularly in relation to managing how much water can be taken for consumptive purposes, such as urban, agricultural and industrial use. 

A water resource plan needs to address a range of water resource management issues including: 

  • setting out how much water can be taken annually for consumptive use (urban, industrial and agricultural) in a way that meets the long-term sustainable diversion limit
  • setting out how water for the environment is managed, including supporting the Basin-wide strategy on water for the environment
  • how we plan to manage water quality and salinity
  • documenting how water will be managed during extreme events such as flood or drought
  • identifying objectives and outcomes regarding the management of water for Aboriginal people
  • setting out how interception activities, such as dams capturing run off, commercial plantations, mining and floodplain harvesting, will be managed and monitored
  • ·outlining the risks to the resource and strategies to address them

Across the whole Murray-Darling Basin, 36 water resource plans are being developed.

More information on water resource plans across the Murray-Darling Basin 

What is South Australia doing?

The Department for Environment and Water is preparing three water resource plans for the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin:

  • The South Australian River Murray – includes the surface waters and floodplain of the River Murray and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert.
  • The Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges – includes the groundwater and surface waters of the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges and the Marne Saunders Prescribed Water Resources Area. 
  • The Murray Region – includes the surface and groundwater resources of the remainder of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin and the Coorong and Murray Mouth. 


How will water resource plans affect me?

The water resource plans do not alter how people currently take and use water for their businesses or household consumption.  

Communities can continue to do their bit to help by following their local water allocation plan and water affecting activity policies

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