Basin Plan implementation

The Basin Plan is a major inter-government initiative to provide water for riverine and wetland environments of the Murray-Darling Basin, as well as for other purposes. It provides directions for the management of water for the environment in NSW.

The Murray–Darling Basin Plan (the Basin Plan) was signed into law by the Australian Parliament in November 2012.

As part of Basin Plan implementation, the Australian Government prepared an Intergovernmental Agreement and a National Partnership Agreement, which outlines jurisdictions' commitments and responsibilities. These were signed by the Prime Minister and the NSW Premier on 27 February 2014.

There are a range of new planning instruments from the Basin Plan that will affect water for the environment. These include the following valley-based plans:

Other Basin Plan projects, such as sustainable diversion limits and constraints management, will also impact on how water for the environment is managed.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water is responsible for the development of long-term water plans (pertaining to water for the environment) and annual environmental watering priorities.

Long-term water plans

Long-term water plans will provide long-term objectives and strategies for managing water in the 9 NSW Murray–Darling Basin catchments. These objectives will also contribute to Basin-wide environmental outcomes direct annual water planning.

Long-term water plans will also be considered in the development of new water resource plans.

The program for development of long-term water plans in New South Wales is coordinated with the Water Resource Planning Program. It involves the initiation of 3 plans each year for 3 years. Each plan is expected to take 2 years to complete consistent with the related water sharing plan.

Work is underway to collate information, identify assets, prioritise actions and develop plans to sustain and improve the condition of plants, animals and system functions.

Annual environmental watering priorities

The Murray–Darling Basin Plan requires each state in the Murray–Darling Basin to prepare annual environmental watering priorities that outline how water for the environment may be used in the coming year, which depends on ecological and climatic factors and water availability.

Priority watering statements for 2020–21, derived from our annual environmental watering plans, are now available.