/ 26 July 2023

Murray-Darling plan set to miss the mark

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The $13 billion plan to restore water to the Murray-Darling basin won’t be completed on time, according to the government agency running it. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was legislated in 2012 to improve the health of the country’s multi-state river system. It aims to return 3,200 gigalitres of water to the basin by June 2024 – aka water guaranteed to flow downstream for environmental reasons – using infrastructure upgrades and buyback programs. Earlier this month, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek asked the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) for its assessment on the likelihood of the plan meeting its target, but the advice is there will be a 750 gigalitres shortfall – 25% of its target. Plibersek says there’s work to be done with the states to develop new timelines. The Coalition and irrigators welcomed the extension, but the Greens warned delays could cause severe environmental damage as Oz heads into an El Niño-inspired dry spell. 

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