Basin State Water Ministers today agreed to re-examine two major water efficiency projects under the Murray Darling Basin Plan to better future-proof their success.
Basin states will publish a report examining key projects including the Menindee Lakes and Yanco Creek Offtake Regulator Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) projects – two of the major projects within the Plan.
Ministers have recognised the unique sensitvies around Menindee and Yanco and have agreed that NSW will have an additional two months to re-work those projects.
Additionally, all Ministers welcomed NSW’s proposal to accelerate five projects that will deliver up to 45GL by 2024, with the Commonwealth agreeing to fast-track funding in support of these projects.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said NSW has already done much of the heavy lifting, delivering on environmental outcomes for the Murray Darling Basin and we have completed or almost completed 12 of our 21 SDLAM projects.
“NSW has today reached an agreement to rescope Yanco and Menindee projects within 2 months – it’s an historic day for both the environment and millions of people who rely on the basin to survive as we have been unable to move on these projects for almost a decade,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Communities at Yanco and Menindee have been loud and clear that the projects need to be flexible. The last drought was the worst we have ever experienced, yet South Australia was well served with the lower lakes remaining in good health.
“Menindee Lakes is the most significant native fish breeding ground in NSW and we have been raising these issues along with water management in the Lakes for almost two years, and so today marks a great achievement by all Basin Ministers recognising that our communities need to drive these projects.
“Through the efforts of NSW to accelerate its projects, an estimated 75 per cent of the 605GL is on track to be delivered by June 2024.
“Today’s agreement creates a pathway that highlights our work to ensure our communities are being heard and that we can deliver tangible outcomes under the Plan,” Mrs Pavey said.