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Basin annual environmental watering priorities

The priorities guide the planning of water for the environment across the Basin each year.

They aim to:

  • achieve the most effective use of water for the environment
  • promote better environmental outcomes across the Basin
  • coordinate watering between environmental water holders and water managers.

We work with environmental water holders and managers to develop the priorities. This complements planning and watering by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, Basin states and local authorities.

The priorities are the actions needed to achieve the long-term environmental outcomes in the Basin-wide environmental watering strategy for native vegetation, waterbirds, native fish, and river flows and connectivity.

We identify priorities that have multi-year components and recommend watering actions for a range of seasonal conditions  This recognises that to achieve some environmental objectives, a series of watering actions needs to occur over a number of successive years. It also helps environmental water managers to plan for changing conditions.

We also provide guidance on achieving the priorities in the forthcoming water year. This guidance focuses on species, communities and sites that need particular attention to maintain and in some cases improve their condition.


More information about specific priorities


    How does the MDBA decide where water needs to be delivered?

    Where and how much water delivered for the environment is delivered depends on a number of different factors including climate (e.g. rainfall and soil moisture). These factors are measured by the Resource Availability Scenario. For more information visit the Resource Availabilty Scenario page.

    Working with Aboriginal people

    We are working with The Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) and the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) to integrate Aboriginal people’s perspectives into water planning. This includes developing guidance on Aboriginal Nations’ cultural objectives across the Basin and the outcomes they would like environmental watering to achieve on Country. This information will be incorporated into the Basin-wide environmental watering priorities from 2019-20.

    Annual water for the environment outlook

    We develop an annual outlook for environmental watering. This describes conditions in the Basin and the forecast climate, and provides an early indication of the likely watering priorities in 2018 ̶ 19.

    The outlook sets out opportunities to achieve good outcomes for the Basin’s environment. It is an important part of how we consult to develop the priorities.