Additional water recovery without negative socio-economic impacts.

The Basin Plan allows for enhanced environmental outcomes from the easing or removal of constraints (Glossary) and the recovery of an additional of 450 GL per year of environmental water above the 2750 GL target from efficiency measures.

The enhanced environmental outcomes are described in Schedule 5 of the Basin Plan and focus on:

  • managing salinity and water quality issues in the Coorong and Lower Lakes
  • improving in-stream outcomes and connections with low to middle level floodplains and habitats adjacent to rivers in the southern Murray Darling Basin
  • providing additional opportunities for floodplain watering, in conjunction with removing or easing constraints

The additional water recovery was included in the Basin Plan on the condition that there would be neutral or positive socio-economic impacts from recovering this water.

Victoria has been recovering water for the environment and improve productivity for nearly 30 years and recognises the benefit of continued innovation in the irrigation sector.

In 2018, the Victorian Government published the Northern Water Infrastructure Prospectus which identified a number of projects which could recover additional water for the environment with neutral or positive socio-economic outcomes.

Victoria's Northern Water Infrastructure Prospectus

The Victorian Government recognises that water alone will not achieve the best environmental outcomes without investing in improving the condition of riverbanks, riparian habitat and managing pest plant and animals, known as Complementary Measures (Glossary). More information is available in the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy.

Socio-economic outcomes

At the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting in December 2018, Ministers agreed that socio-economic criteria and the associated assessment be adopted as the basis of the neutrality test for assessing efficiency measures projects.

Project compliance with the criteria will be assessed though a process established by the states prior to being submitted to the Commonwealth. This assessment will provide certainty to regional communities that all proposals for additional water recovery above the Basin Plan’s 2,750 GL target will have neutral or positive socio-economic outcomes.

For more information about the Victorian Government’s socio-economic criteria assessment process or to register a proposal for a water efficiency project please visit DELWP’s website.

More information

For more information on Victoria’s approach to additional water recovery, please download the fact sheet (PDF, 128.7 KB) or the accessible version (DOCX, 172 KB)

Page last updated: 26/10/22