Key step in finalising Murray-Darling Basin Plan in Queensland

The Australian Government has now accredited the first Water Resource Plan (WRP) under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, providing certainty for water users and communities in the Warrego–Paroo–Nebine area.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the accreditation of the WRP was a significant milestone in the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

“This is the first of 36 WRPs required under the Basin Plan, and underlines our commitment to the Basin Plan, and to managing the nation’s water resources strategically and with long-term vision, to support strong rural and regional communities,” Minister Joyce said.

“WRPs give local communities and irrigators the certainty they need about water planning and sharing going forward, including annual limits and rules on the use of water for consumptive and environmental purposes.

“WRPs are tailored to meet the individual needs of each area, but together will underpin a consistent approach to water management across the Basin.

“The Commonwealth has also undertaken some strategic water recovery in the Warrego, in order to meet Basin Plan requirements while minimising socio-economic impacts.

“Under the 320 GL scenario for the Northern Basin supported by Basin ministers, the Government has now achieved the entire shared recovery target for Queensland—meaning no further water recovery will be needed will be needed across the Warrego-Paroo-Nebine or Queensland Border Rivers areas.

“It is vital that the Commonwealth Parliament now backs the scenario supported by Basin ministers, which sees an overall reduction in the water recovery target of 70GL down from the 390 GL target currently in the Plan. This will ensure better socio-economic outcomes for Northern Basin communities while achieving the same level of environmental outcomes through pragmatic toolkit measures.

“If this occurs, there will still be some remaining local recovery required in the Condamine-Balonne in order to achieve Basin Plan targets. We will ensure this recovery is done in a way that ensures minimal socio-economic impacts to communities.

“There is still a way to go to implement WRPs across the whole Basin by 2019, but this plan will help to streamline the process for other states.”

Source: Australian Government