The NSW Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Works and Measures Feasibility Projects were funded by the Australian Government. These projects were a means to help offset the social and economic impact of the proposed Basin Plan on water users and has two parts:
- Part A: $2 million to conduct feasibility assessments on eight state identified proposals
- Part B: $1.2 million to assist the community to identify viable local measures.
The NSW Office of Water has submitted an evaluation report to the Commonwealth on the findings from both Part A and Part B:
Part A: Environmental Works and Measures – State identified proposals
NSW identified eight state proposals to be investigated for potential water savings:
- Euston Lake restoration and improved water efficiency
- Upper Murrumbidgee environmental flow enhancement.
- Piping irrigation demands
- Burrendong Dam environmental flow enhancement.
- Southern Macquarie Marshes environmental flow enhancement
- More efficient delivery of high priority stock and domestic supplies
- Modify weirs to enhance floodplain inundation
Part B: Environmental Works and Measures - Community identified proposals
Proposals were invited under Environmental Works and Measures Part B to help offset the social and economic impact of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on water users. The NSW Office of Water received about 45 submissions incorporating about 70 proposed environmental works and measures. The proposals were aimed at using consumptive or environmental water more efficiently in order to bridge or reduce the gap between current levels of water extraction and the sustainable diversion limits proposed in the draft Basin Plan.
The NSW Office of Water submitted a report to the Commonwealth in June 2013 detailing the recommended projects:
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority's draft Basin Plan proposed new sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) that cap the amount of surface water that can be taken from each catchment area. If the current volume of water taken (as measured in 2009) exceeds the proposed SDL, the excess or 'gap' will need to be reduced by:
- selling water entitlements to the Australian Government
- using or delivering consumptive water more efficiently - the water saved can then be allocated to the Australian Government for the environment, without negatively affecting water-dependent communities
- using water more efficiently to meet the environmental targets in the draft Basin Plan – meaning less consumptive water needs to be recovered.
For more information read about the Altered Proposed Basin Plan.