1With the enactment of the Water Act 2007, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) was established as an independent expertise-based statutory agency.

For the first time in the Basin’s history, one Basin-wide institution is responsible for planning the Basin’s water resources, with all planning decisions made in the interest of the Basin as a whole.

MDBA’s primary roles include:

  • preparing, implementing and reviewing an integrated plan for the sustainable use of the Basin’s water resources
  • operating the River Murray system and efficiently delivering water to users on behalf of partner governments
  • measuring, monitoring and recording the quality and quantity of the Basin’s water resources
  • supporting, encouraging and conducting research and investigations about the Basin’s water resources and dependent ecosystems
  • advising the Australian Government Minister for Water Resources on the accreditation of state water resource plans
  • providing water rights information to facilitate water trading across the Basin
  • engaging and educating the Australian community about the Basin’s water resources.

MDBA’s current governance arrangements were preceded by almost a century of different forms of collaborative management with Basin states — in the first instance NSW, Victoria and South Australia and more recently joined by Queensland and the ACT.

The sustainable management of the Murray–Darling Basin river system is a collective endeavour of Basin states and the Australian government, with river dependent industries and communities.

Basin Plan implementation

The Basin Plan aims to ensure the water resources of the Basin are shared between all water users in a sustainable way. It is about striking a balance and maintaining a healthy system to support productive industries and sustainable communities.

River Murray operations

MDBA is responsible for directing the sharing of the River Murray’s water on behalf of the Basin states. The Murray–Darling Agreement, (a schedule of the Water Act 2007) spells out these arrangements.

Under the Agreement, we operate the River Murray system and oversee asset management (Dartmouth and Hume Dam, Lake Victoria, Lower Lake barrages, weirs and locks) with our state partners.