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Published: 08 February 2018   •   Media statements

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) stands by its rigorous and independent assessment of downstream impacts undertaken during the Northern Basin Review.

The Australia Institute is fundamentally wrong in claiming the MDBA's assessment of the impact of proposed changes to the Basin Plan on South Australia was based on anything other than the best available science. The MDBA rejects these claims in the strongest possible terms.

The scenarios referred to by the Australia Institute modelled the different volumes of water which would arrive in Menindee and other catchments if different delivery methods and types of water recovery were used.  The MDBA did not adjust down any scenario modelled and any suggestion otherwise is misleading.

The modelling and data which underpinned our recommendations from the Northern Basin Review was strong, accurate and stood up to the scrutiny of independent peer-review by leading environmental, economic and water experts, who found our work to be robust.

The Northern Basin Review was a thorough, science and evidence based assessment of water management settings for the northern Basin, undertaken over a four-year period.

It is a legislated requirement of the Basin Plan—and a core objective of the MDBA—to achieve the best possible balance between social, economic and environmental outcomes in implementing the Plan.

Consideration of different options is an important part of assessing the impact of water recovery on the environment and regional communities. Our aim was to find ways to maximise environmental outcomes whilst having the minimum impact on industry and downstream communities.

This is why the detailed analysis of the Northern Basin Review included the development and consideration of multiple scenarios to test alternative forms of water recovery on hydrological flows across the northern Basin.

These different scenarios were all made publically available—underlining the transparency of the Review process.

All Basin governments, including South Australia, reviewed the analysis and the Northern Basin Review was considered and endorsed by the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council.

The MDBA is an independent, science-based and evidence-driven organisation—our chief objective is to deliver the Murray–Darling Basin Plan in a way that will secure the future of this vital river system and the communities and industries that rely on it.

The MDBA's recommended Northern Basin Amendments will deliver the environmental benefits sought through the Basin Plan with 70 GL less water recovery—while saving about 200 jobs in local irrigation-dependent communities.

The MDBA stands by the Northern Basin Review process, and urges all parties to examine its detailed and published evidence when considering the amendments currently before Parliament.

Each scenario examined by the MDBA is publicly reported in the Technical Report published as part of the development of the Northern Basin Review and can be found at:

https://www.mdba.gov.au/sites/default/files/pubs/NB-modelling-report_0.pdf

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