The Constraints Management Strategy (CMS) was released today.
The CMS is the first step in a 10-year process to look more closely at some of the key river constraints in the Murray-Darling Basin.
In simple terms, a constraint is something that stops us from delivering environmental water as effectively as we could – in other words, things that stop us from getting water to where it could do some good. A constraint could be something physical, like a low lying bridge, or a practice or policy, like dam release rules. Changing some of these constraints could significantly improve the benefits of environmental watering.
The Australian Government has committed $200 million to change or remove constraints that the Basin governments decide need to be addressed. To make that decision, they will need to consider both the merits and the impacts of any possible changes. That’s where the CMS fits in. Continue reading
The following was previously published in the Bendigo Advertiser on 6 November 2013
Meetings hosted by the MDBA during October to discuss activities under the Basin Plan attracted a good turnout.
This was a valuable opportunity to hear from many local community members across the southern Basin, who brought wide-ranging perspectives to the conversation.
We greatly appreciate the time people gave to meet with us and to share their views.
MDBA Chief Executive, Dr Rhondda Dickson, at last month’s open house in Shepparton
Last year, Basin Ministers requested that, as part of the Basin Plan, the MDBA complete a study on constraints – the Constraints Management Strategy. The strategy will outline the work that needs to be done over the coming years on constraints to the delivery of environmental water. The draft version of this will be released tomorrow on the MDBA website. Remember, the strategy itself is just the first step in what will be many years’ worth of work looking at constraints.
In simple terms, a constraint is something that stops us from delivering environmental water as effectively as we could – in other words, things that stop us from getting water to where it could do some good.
On the Murray, looking towards Mildura. Photo: MDBA
A constraint could be something physical, like a low lying bridge, or a rule or policy, like dam release rules. Changing how we manage the Basin’s rivers and removing certain constraints could allow us to get better environmental outcomes in the Basin. To do this properly, we need to have a good understanding of what constraints are out there and what the effects would be if we made changes to any of them. Continue reading
Today’s post is by Jody Swirepik, Executive Director of Environmental Management. The following was first published in the Shepparton News on 11 September 2013.
Over the past few months, MDBA staff have been travelling to parts of the southern basin to speak with landholders and community representatives about the work we’ve been doing on constraints.
This has been the first step towards a larger body of work to be done over the coming years to look at how we might get better environmental outcomes in the basin if we changed some of the physical structures, like low-lying bridges, and ‘river rules’, such as release rules for dams.
In particular, we want to find out how we might reinstate some of the small overbank flows that used to happen before the dams and weirs were put in place. These are the flows that go just to the top of, or over the bank.
By November, we need to have completed a strategy for how this work should proceed over the coming years.
One of the things we have to do as part of the Basin Plan is develop what are known as Basin Annual Environmental Watering Priorities (because that’s so long, we’ll stick to ‘annual priorities’ instead). These annual priorities are basically the environmental watering activities that environmental water managers across the Basin will need to focus on for the year. For example, water managers may want to focus on activities like encouraging bird breeding or a particular wetland one year, then focus on a different activity or a different area the next year. The first of these annual priorities will be finalised soon, so it seems like a good time to remind you of what these annual priorities are all about.
Now, as many of you would know, environmental watering isn’t new – many groups have been doing it in their corner of the Basin for years. What these new annual priorities will do is help us better coordinate our efforts across state borders and let us manage the Basin as one system. The annual priorities will complement the state watering priorities, which are more locally focussed. Yes, there is more than one set of priorities! By working together in this coordinated way, we are effectively working locally and thinking Basin wide. Read more about how we are developing the annual priorities…
With only a few days left in the 6-week ministerial comment phase, we thought we’d take a look back at the 20-week public consultation, which began on 28 November 2011 and ended on 16 April 2012.
We’ve put together an infographic with some of the more interesting stats.
I have read with interest the various claims that the draft Basin Plan doesn’t take into account climate change. The fact of the matter is, of course, that climate change is factored into the Basin Plan.
Climate scientists are fond of pointing out that it is difficult to see long-term climate change compared to natural variability. This is no more evident than in the Murray-Darling Basin, where there are several different climate zones that are subject to highly seasonal climate patterns as well as huge variability between years. These are the factors that produce the extreme floods and droughts we’ve experienced over the past decade.
However, there is more than enough information about the Murray-Darling Basin to be confident about two key points. The first is that historical management of the Basin has led to the over-allocation of water. The second is that the Basin’s climate will continue to be highly variable.
The draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan addresses these two key challenges. Continue reading the post from Dr Rhondda Dickson, MDBA Chief Exec