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The Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Australia


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Case study of River Basin Authority in Australia

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The Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Australia

  1. 1. Australia: The Murray-Darling Basin Authority Our vision: to achieve a healthy working basin through the integrated management of water resources for the long-term benefit of the Australian community Our mission: We lead the planning and management of Basin Water Resources in collaboration with partner governments and the community Presenter: Ph.D. Vitor Vieira Vasconcelos, CNPq Scholarship (Brazil) Stockholm Environment Institute - Ayeyarwady Futures Team On behalf of: Frederick Bouckaert – Murray Darlin Basin Authority Stakeholder Consultation on Chindwin Futures Assessment Monywa, 4th May 2015, Myanmar
  2. 2. Facts about the Murray–Darling Basin 14% of mainland Australia, I million km2 Over 2 million people Federal and 5 state governments: Qld, Vic, ACT, NSW, SA Contains Australia’s three longest rivers: Murray, Darling, Murrumbidgee 50% of Australia’s irrigated agriculture: rice, cotton, grapes, fruit, … 16 internationally significant wetland sites The Murray is highly regulated and contributes to most of the annual flows Droughts and floods 18% of Australia’s aboriginal people live in the MDB Long term annual average
  3. 3. History of History of RBO establishmentmanagement RBO consensus model RBO centralised model BP implementation
  4. 4. Governance of MDBA Decisions Advisory Decisions Implementation Management Monitoring Advisory Decisions Advisory
  5. 5. MDBA roles and responsibility • Plan and coordinate Basin water resources • Regulate for a healthy working basin (triple bottom line: social/cultural, economic, ecological) • Evaluate and review the effectiveness of the Basin Plan • Operate the River Murray • Enhance the knowledge base for a sustainable Basin
  6. 6. Link with national level and other concerned agencies • Management tools for national water reform include: – Maximum ‘cap’ on water use (2750GL to be reclaimed for environment in Basin Plan) – Water markets (despite 70% of it being recovered, irrigation productivity has remained ~ the same overall) – Water accounting – Nationally accredited Water Resource Plans • Policy and water recovery: Department of Environment, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder • Spatial data: Geoscience Australia • Rainfall, runoff and water quality data: Bureau of Meteorology • Research: Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisation and various universities
  7. 7. Water Act 2007 Basin Plan CH5 Environmental Watering Plan Water Resource Plans Monitoring and Evaluation Water Quality Plan Water Trading Rules Critical Human Water Needs Enabling Legislation Objectives of Basin Plan Key Actions Monitoring and Evaluation Activities Conducted
  8. 8. Funding mechanism Two funding streams: • Joint program funding (consensus through Ministerial Council) for activities such as: – Salinity interception – The Living Murray initiative (management of significant assets) – River Murray operations (running the regulated river) • Commonwealth funding: implementing the Basin plan (see previous slide of activities): money allocated by Federal Minister for Environment Both mechanisms are legally in place for long term, but funding is decided annually and varies depending on state and federal budgets
  9. 9. Achievement and challenges Achievements: •Basin Plan on track for being implemented by 2019 (key actions completed – slide 7) •Change from consensus model to centralized model successfully completed (slide 3) Challenges: •Social license to consolidate Basin Plan objectives •Defining ongoing RBO role after Basin Plan implementation stage, and simplifying and securing the funding mechanism
  10. 10. Lessons learnt • RBO in Australia is all about integrating state responsibilities for water management in Basin-wide and national context • Narrow focus on water management from wider, more ambitious natural resource management over the years – not fully integrated water management? • But moved from lowest common agreed targets to more ambitious targets through centralized model and Basin Plan.