Minor practical changes to enable consistent implementation of the Basin Plan

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In consultation with basin state governments, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) have identified a range of minor improvements that would enable a practical and consistent implementation of the Basin Plan.

Over time, a number of basin state governments have refined the boundaries of their own water planning areas and have requested the Murray-Darling Basin Authority change the Basin Plan water resource plan boundaries to better align them with state water planning boundaries. The change will see the total number of water planning areas decrease from 36 to 33.

The MDBA is proposing to allow the basin states extra time to specify the allocation of their shared water recovery targets. This will enable additional time (to 30 June 2017 which is an additional year) to consider where they would prefer to see water recovery occur in their state.

Under the Basin Plan, a term was established to determine the baseline from which the required reductions in diversions of water were calculated. The Basin Plan refers to this as the baseline diversion limit (BDL) and a small change is proposed to this limit for the ACT to better reflect the way water is managed there.

The MDBA is proposing a change to compliance on sustainable diversion limits in certain circumstances. The proposed amendment applies to the cumulative balance on the register of take for surface water. The amendment adjusts the cumulative balance on the register of take to allow for the annual removal of any debits, which are incurred in the previous water accounting period as a result of a particular circumstance that is considered beyond the state or territory government’s control.

There are a small number of water trading rules that may benefit from clarification to ensure they operate in the manner that was originally intended. The changes aim to clarify definitions without changing the overall operation of the water trading rules.

In addition, changes to the Water Act 2007 made in mid-2016 require minor amendments to the Basin Plan to ensure the legislation is consistent. The proposed amendments update some reporting requirements in the Basin Plan, re-phase the timing of reviews and fix minor cross-reference to the Water Act.

You can review the supporting documents including a snapshot of the minor and practical changes.

Interested parties are invited to provide feedback or to support the proposed practical changes to the Basin Plan by making a submission. You can do this by lodging a submission through our online portal. All submissions must be received by 5pm (AEST) on 10 February 2017.

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