Murray Darling Basin

About sustainable diversion limits

The Basin Plan allows sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) to be adjusted for projects that provide more effective environmental watering or produce water savings, known as SDL Adjustment Measures (or ‘supply measures’ in the Basin Plan).

The Basin Plan sets a SDL for each catchment and aquifer in the Basin, as well as an overall limit for the Basin as a whole. In order to meet the new limits, 2,750 gigialitres (GL) of water needs to be recovered Basin-wide.

NSW would prefer water to be found by infrastructure options or changes to operations – rather than bought back from the consumptive pool.

NSW commenced finding savings through the Commonwealth funded Environmental Works and Measures feasibility program in 2012. To find about more about this program go to Environmental Works and Measures feasibility projects.

NSW's share of this 'SDL gap' is 1,312 GL, with approximately 870 GL of water recovered to date. For the remaining 442 GL of recovery, NSW is pursuing investment by the Australian government in a range of projects and programs, with infrastructure projects being prioritised over water buybacks.

One of the key areas being progressed by the NSW government for reducing the gap between the Basin Plan limit and those in existing water sharing plans is via SDL adjustment 'supply measure' proposals. These proposals which allow equivalent environmental outcomes to be achieved with less water include such things as new works (eg. regulators, levees), changes in river operations and evaporative savings projects.

More information about sustainable diversion limits:

Environmental Works and Measures feasibility projects

In 2012, the Australian Government funded the Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Works and Measures Feasibility Projects These projects help offset the social and economic impact of the 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:

Shortlisted proposals

The NSW Office of Water submitted a report to the Commonwealth in June 2013 detailing the recommended projects: