Please make a submission to the MDBA using some or all of the following dot points:
At the heart of the national Murray-Darling Basin Plan are long term Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs). These limits will determine how much water can be diverted from the rivers and aquifers of the Basin for human use, for agriculture and towns. As the name suggests, they are intended to be sustainable in the long term, to protect and restore the health of rivers and wetlands and to provide a secure future for river communities.
When the Plan was made in 2012, it set SDLs for each catchment in the Basin, from the Condamine-Balonne in Queensland to the Campaspe in Victoria, and for the whole of the Basin. These are due to come into effect in 2019 and require the return of 2750 gigalitres (GL), about 20 percent of overall water use, to the environment to keep our rivers healthy. To date we’ve recovered around 2000 GL for rivers and the benefits are beginning to show.
But the plan also allows these limits to be changed, through the SDL Adjustment Mechanism, by up to 5 percent overall. This can be achieved by
We are now at the crunch point in this process. Victoria, NSW and the Commonwealth have put a huge amount of effort into developing supply projects to bring down the volume of water for rivers, while the efficiency measures have been put in the too hard basket and are actively being resisted.
The MDBA is proposing to change the SDLs and reduce the amount of water for the environment by 605 GL across the Basin, in addition to a further 70 GL reduction in the north, in the Darling and its tributaries. This will stop water recovery in its tracks and limit the environmental outcomes of the Plan.
To give birds, fish, frogs and trees a fair go, keep salinity in check so that the rivers water can be used, and keep the mouth of the Murray open, the plan aims to recover 3200GL of water for the environment. For this we need the efficiency measures and they are nowhere to be seen.
Issues of trust and transparency are getting in the way of the achieving the best possible outcomes of the Basin Plan. Please ask the MDBA to provide more (comprehensible) information, extend the consultation period and delay submitting a recommendation to Minister Joyce until progress can be made on efficiency measures that drive up water recovery in addition to supply measures that drive it down.
Submissions are due by Friday 3 November and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted online at https://getinvolved.mdba.gov.au/SDLAM. Don’t be put off by MDBA’s questions – you can say what you want under ‘any other issues’!
Thank you so much for taking this important action for our rivers.