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Compliance and enforcement documents


Compliance and enforcement framework
The compliance and enforcement policy
Compliance escalation pathway
SDL Reporting and Compliance Framework
Compliance priorities
2019–20 compliance priorities

The MDBA sets compliance priorities for each water year (July – June) based on a horizon scan and a detailed risk assessment of Basin Plan non-compliance for each of the MDBA's key compliance areas, as set out in the MDBA's Compliance and Enforcement Policy. The MDBA also reports on its performance achieving the previous year’s priorities.

2018–19 compliance priorities
Intergovernmental agreements on compliance

The MDBA has a number of agreements with Basin States for sharing information and coordinating activities in relation to compliance across the Murray–Darling Basin

Collaboration protocol with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy - Queensland
Collaboration protocol with the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (formerly Department of Industry) - New South Wales
Collaboration protocol with the Natural Resources Access Regulator - New South Wales
Collaboration protocol with the Department of Environment and Water – South Australia
Collaboration protocol with the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority – Australian Capital Territory
Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator

In February 2018, the MDBA and the NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining how the agencies will work together and share information on compliance matters.

The MoU provides for the MDBA and the NRAR joint work programs to strengthen water compliance arrangements.

MDBA-NRAR 2018-2019 work program
MDBA-NRAR 2019-2021 work program
Basin Compliance Compact

The Basin Plan Compliance Compact was endorsed at the Council of Australian Government meeting on 12 December 2018. The Compact is an agreed work plan for governments to ensure water rules are complied with and enforced. Read the Basin compliance compact and independent review

Water Information
Water Information Quality Assurance Framework

The Water Information Quality Assurance Framework has been developed in response to Action 1a of the Compliance Review. The Framework draws on relevant standards for the requirements of hydrometric networks and hydrologic models for compliance and enforcement.

Background to the development of guidelines for improved water information to aid Basin Plan compliance

This is an independent report that serves as background to the Water Information Quality Assurance Framework above.

Model improvement program

The MDBA continues to develop and use hydrologic models to inform policy, Basin Plan compliance activities, management and operations of rivers in the Murray–Darling Basin. Through the Murray–Darling Basin Water Compliance Review, the MDBA committed to “publish a model improvement program for its hydrologic models”. The Model Improvement Program outlines components and timeframes for three models used to support Basin Plan implementation: the Source Murray Model, the Integrated Modelling Framework, and Hydrodynamic Models. Read the Model improvement program - MDBA hydrological models.

Explanatory summary for floodplain harvesting practice notes

The MDBA has published, in consultation with the Basin states, four practice notes which include guidance for incorporating and accounting for floodplain harvesting in hydrological models. This document provides a short summary on the development of the practice notes. The practice notes are published on the MDBA’s hydrologic modelling practice notes webpage


In June 2018 the Australian Government and the Murray–Darling Basin states agreed to the Compliance Compact which describes actions that will strengthen water use compliance by the Basin community. The availability and use of non-urban water meters in the Basin is of particular interest to water users, the public and governments.

Part three of the Compliance Compact sets out a number actions related to Metering and Measurement:

Best Practice Guidelines for minimum metering thresholds

Compliance Compact Part 3.3 (iv):  Basin States and the MDBA will agree guidelines for reviewing metering thresholds by 30 June 2019:

These best practice guidelines for minimum non-urban water metering thresholds will assist the states and territories when they are developing or reviewing their metering thresholds. All Australian states and territories have worked collaboratively to design the guidelines.

Pattern Approved ‘Non-Urban’ Water Meters

Compliance Compact Part 3.8: The Australian Government and Basin States will work with each other, jurisdictions, testing laboratories, meter manufacturers and industry to set a timetable for delivering a comprehensive range of pattern approved meters.

As part of preparing a report to meet this commitment, the MDBA has worked with meter manufacturers to compile a list of meters being considered for pattern approval or having achieved pattern approval.  The MDBA maintains and updates this list regularly based on information provided by the National Measurement Institute and manufacturers.

Incorrect meter installation can be costly to businesses, in lost operation time and compliance action. A list of Irrigation Australia Certified Meter Installers and Validators (CMIs) can be found on the search tile on the Iriigation Australian website 

Updated: 28 Jan 2020  •   MDBA reports