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Basin salinity management 2030: strategies and reports

Salinity is a significant management challenge and poses ongoing environmental, social and economic risks in the Murray–Darling Basin.

Salinity is forecast to continue to increase over time and requires careful ongoing management to prevent a return to the highly saline conditions of previous decades.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and Basin governments have a long and successful history of working together to manage salinity. The current strategy (BSM2030) has been in place since 2015 and will deliver a program of coordinated salinity management until 2030.

The focus of BSM2030 is to:

  • maintain the cap on salinity through the existing Basin Salinity Target and the existing accountability framework
  • bring environmental water fully into the accountability framework in a practical and pragmatic way
  • explore opportunities to responsively manage salt interception schemes so that operations can be further optimised and costs can be reduced when river salinity is forecast to be low
  • support Basin Plan flow management obligations to have regard to the salinity targets for managing water flows
  • support basin states managing salinity in their catchments through their land and water management plans and be consistent with their Basin Plan water resource plan obligations
  • develop fit-for-purpose governance arrangements which reduce the frequency of audit, reporting and reviews
  • invest in knowledge to reduce uncertainty and potentially avoid the need for future capital investment in new joint works and measures
  • undertake a major strategic review to ensure the strategy continues to guide effective management of salinity in the basin.

More information


Basin Salinity Management 2030 strategy
Basin salinity management 2030 strategy

This strategy, Basin salinity management 2030 (BSM2030), builds on the successes of the Basin salinity management strategy (2001-2015) to deliver a strategic, cost-efficient and streamlined program of coordinated salinity management for the next 15 years.

Annual reports and summaries
Basin Salinity Forum 2019 – Overview Report

Under the BSM2030 strategy, every second year the MDBA convenes a Basin salinity forum. The Basin Salinity Forum overview report includes a summary of each presentation provided at the forum, the key points raised during the emerging issues panel discussion, and a list of workshop attendees. The PowerPoint slides from each presentation are included as an appendix to the report.

BSM2030 summary report 2017–18

This report highlights the status of salinity in the Murray–Darling Basin during 2017-18. It also identifies the key outcomes and achievements from 2017–18.

BSM2030 status report 2017-18

Under the BSM2030 strategy, every second year the MDBA is required to prepare a BSM2030 status report. This is the second BSM2030 status report prepared by the MDBA, providing an update on strategy implementation.

BSM2030: 2015-2017 Biennial implementation report

This report is the first of the biennial comprehensive implementation reports prepared by the MDBA under the BSM2030 strategy. The report provides an overview of outcomes and achievements against the key elements of the BSM2030 strategy and includes the executive summaries from each Contracting Government’s comprehensive report

BSM2030 status report 2015-16

The 2015–16 year was the first year of reporting on BSM2030 strategy implementation. Throughout 2015–16, the MDBA and partner governments concentrated on first developing and then implementing the BSM2030 strategy.

BSM2030 summary report 2015-16

This summary report highlights the status of salinity in the Murray-Darling Basin during 2015-16. It identifies the key outcomes for the reporting period and the priorities for implementing the BSM2030 strategy in 2016-17

Knowledge priorities: Mallee legacy of history salinity impacts
Mallee legacy of history: salinity impacts from dryland vegetation clearance

This report reviews the adopted hypothesis that Mallee vegetation clearance and its replacement with shallow-rooted dryland farming systems results in enhanced root zone drainage and increased (but delayed) groundwater recharge that would drive more salt into the River Murray.

Mallee legacy of history: salinity impacts from irrigation

This report reviews the approaches and assumptions used to estimate the salinity impact of pre-1988 irrigation development in the Mallee region, focussing specifically on how irrigation accessions and recharge are estimated and implemented by the salinity register groundwater models.

Updated: 04 Jun 2020  •   MDBA reports