The Murray-Darling Basin Plan supports so much more than just the environment. The Plan is delivered in a way that benefits local communities, cultural knowledge, water quality, future proofing our resources for all users and the environment.
Each year, the Victorian Government reports to the Commonwealth Government on its progress in implementing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Throughout 2018-19, Victoria has continued to work with the Commonwealth Government, other Basin jurisdictions and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to support the delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan’s objectives in a way that balances social, economic and environmental outcomes, as agreed.
The Victorian Basin Plan Implementation Highlights for 2018-19 (PDF, 948.6 KB) provides a summary look at Victoria’s 2018-19 program of work and progress towards achieving agreed Basin milestones in the areas of:
- Local Knowledge and Stakeholder Engagement
- Environmental Watering
- Water Quality and Salinity Management
- Water Trading
- Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDL)
- SDL Adjustment and Constraints Management
- Water Resource Plans
- Participation in Basin Plan Governance
Victoria has continued to work with local communities and Traditional Owners to get great environmental outcomes for the Basin. The Victorian Basin Plan Implementation Highlights for 2017-18 (PDF, 206.7 KB) is also available.
In February 2019, the North Central CMA Indigenous Facilitator organised a field visit to Guttrum Forest to discuss cultural objectives for the forest with Barapa Barapa and Wamba Wamba Traditional Owners and North Central CMA staff.
The Traditional Owners expressed their aspiration to be more involved in the management of their Country through increased employment opportunities and being paid to undertake ecological and cultural monitoring.
The visit to Guttrum Forest provided an opportunity for the Victorian Government to see how the forests responded to the extensive natural flooding of 2016 and subsequent dry years.
At this visit we discussed the current condition of the forest, Traditional Owners’ cultural priorities, and the importance of environmental water to living culture.
Barapa Barapa and Wamba Wamba Traditional Owners recommended that culturally important plants could be used to measure success when evaluating the outcome of environmental watering actions.
Traditional Owners indicated that they would like to see an autumn or winter partial-fill to prime the wetlands, increase soil moisture and stimulate the growth of aquatic vegetation prior to delivering a larger watering event in spring.
Traditional Owners also identified the importance of maintaining water in the soil profile to sustain large old trees around the wetland fringe.
Field visit to Guttrum Forest with Barapa Barapa and Wamba Wamba Traditional Owners and NCCMA staff. Photo credit: Nick Stewart, North Central CMA
Ranch Billabong, adjacent to the Wimmera River at Dimboola, contains important environmental values. This site was identified as culturally significant by the local Aboriginal community during an Aboriginal Waterways Assessment in 2017.
Wimmera CMA worked in partnership with Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BGLC), the land manager of Ranch Billabong, to arrange delivery of environmental flows and a community event in December 2018. Follow-up watering occurred in March 2019.
Ranch Billabong watering encouraged responses by native wildlife and halved salinity levels, which improved the growth of aquatic plants.
In addition to the planned environmental benefits, watering Ranch Billabong will improve the site’s amenity and suitability for gatherings and events (such as earth oven and bark canoe re-creations).
Wimmera CMA and BGLC are planning to build on these outcomes by delivering additional water in 2019.
Members of Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Wimmera CMA, GWMWater and VEWH at Ranch Billabong. Photo credit: Erin Round, VEWH
Victoria is on track to deliver our share of water for the environment: 1,075 gigalitres (GL) of water to improve the health of our rivers and land in the Basin. We’ve already recovered or contracted to recover over 800 GL which is three-quarters of the way to Victoria’s water recovery target.
The water recovered to improve the health of our rivers and land includes water saved by upgrading and modernising irrigation systems, as well as water purchased from farmers by the Federal Government in return for modernising and upgrading irrigation systems on their farms.
Improvements to habitat
We’re already seeing an improvement in the health of our rivers and land through our four major projects in the Gunbower Forest, Hattah Lakes, and Lindsay and Mulcra Islands. These projects are making a real difference to the local environment by creating healthier native vegetation, providing better homes for birdlife and by improving the health of the river. We are closely monitoring more than 30 locations to track how the water we have set aside for the environment is helping produce healthier fish, bird and plant life.
Victoria is carefully managing salinity in our waterways to protect water quality in the Murray for the environment and community. Monitoring at sites such as Lock 6 and Morgan shows that salinity levels in the Murray continue to meet Basin Plan targets.
Our long-term efforts to manage salinity through improved farming practices and water management and operation of salt interception schemes have led to a 30-year trend of decreasing salinity levels in the Murray River.
Trading and compliance
We have refreshed our water trading rules to make trading easier and help farmers manage their water better while staying informed.
Victoria also has a robust water law compliance system. Water use is metered and independently read. An independent expert is looking at ways to improve compliance with water laws across the entire Murray-Darling. Our commitment to providing access to metered water supplies allows Victorian farmers in the Murray-Darling to have the information they need to help them manage their water supply wisely.
Our projects will deliver great outcomes for regional communities with real benefits for local waterways and wetlands along the Murray and its tributaries. These projects will significantly contribute to meeting the requirements of the Basin Plan.
Page last updated: 14/11/19