Basin Plan glossary

Basin states

The states covered by the Murray-Darling Basin are Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, as well as the Australian Capital Territory.

Complementary measures

On-ground projects that complement the environmental benefits of the Basin Plan, assisting in securing its objectives. These include fishways (safe, in-stream passage for fish through weirs), restoring in-stream habitat for native fish, control of pest animals and weeds, or floodplain-riverine connections.

Basin governments are considering how to embed complementary measures in Basin Plan implementation.


Limitations on the capacity to deliver environmental water. Constraints may include physical structures such as low-lying bridges or river management practices such as river height operational limits.

Constraints measures

Constraints measures are activities that remove or ease constraints on the capacity to deliver environmental water. Easing constraints, for example by raising bridges or getting permission to flood private land, means that higher flows can be delivered to achieve greater environmental outcomes.

Consumptive use

Taking water from the Basin for uses like irrigation, industry, urban, stock and domestic.

Efficiency measures

Efficiency measures recover and provide more water for the environment by making consumptive water uses, like irrigation, more efficient.

Victoria has implemented a number of water efficiency programs to meet its share of the 2,750 GL water recovery target, but the Basin Plan also allows for efficiency measures to deliver a further 450 GL above that target, for the environment. These 450 GL efficiency measures are often called ‘upwater’, and the Basin Plan requires that they achieve neutral or improved socio-economic outcomes.

Environmental water or water for the environment

Water used to achieve environmental outcomes, including benefits to ecosystem functions, biodiversity, water quality and water resource health.


see Supply measures


see Sustainable Diversion Limit


see Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism

Supply measures

Supply measures are engineered works, river operations or rule changes that enable the use of less water but still achieve the Basin Plan's environmental outcomes. Such projects allow the Basin Plan's 2,750 GL recovery volume to be reduced.

Sustainable Diversion Limit

The Sustainable Diversion Limit is the maximum amount of water that can be taken from waterways for consumptive use.

Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism

The Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) allows the Commonwealth Water Minister, on the advice of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, to adjust the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) within defined limits. Supply and efficiency measures projects can lead to an adjustment of the SDL.


see Efficiency measures

See also

The Victorian Water Register which offers additional definitions of industry-specific key terms.

Page last updated: 19/05/23