The Murray–Darling Basin Plan sets limits on the amount of water that can be taken from the rivers in the Basin. This includes water for town, industrial and agricultural use. These limits are known as Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs).
SDLs are set at catchment and aquifer scales. Adding these together results in the Basin-wide SDLs for surface water of 10,945 gigalitres per year (GL/y)1.
Basin States put in place SDLs through their water resource plans at the catchment scale.
1 See section 6.04(2) of the Basin Plan 2012
During the development of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, Basin water ministers requested the ability for less water recovery in the southern Basin if projects could be delivered that would achieve equal environmental outcomes. This is called the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism.
Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism - Projects
The Australian, New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian governments agreed to a package of 36 supply measure projects in the southern Basin.
- reduce evaporation at water storages
- managed environmental water more efficiently through using infrastructure or changing river operating rules.
Taking into account these 36 projects, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority MDBA determined these projects would deliver environmental benefits equivalent to 605GL/y. This allowed the SDLs in the southern Basin to be increased by 605 GL/y and means there is more water available for Basin communities.
The Basin governments also agreed that to support this increase in the SDLs, a minimum of 62 GL/y of water needs to be recovered through Efficiency measures.
The Basin Plan Amendment (SDL Adjustment) Instrument 2017 amended the Basin Plan to reflect the change in SDLs (13 January 2018).
To allow the 605GL/y increase, at least 62GL/y must be obtained through efficiency measures. This keeps the adjustment within the 5% limit set out in the Basin Plan. Efficiency measures are activities that change water use practices and save water.
Read more about Efficiency measures.
Check the MDBA website for information on: