The Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) is expected to fall 190GL to 315GL of water short of its 2024 recovery target. The federal government has “no choice” but to start planning how to make up the shortfall. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority assessed the progress of the state governments’ water saving developments – known as SDLAM projects – and found they would only deliver between between 290GL and 415GL of the 605GL required by mid-2024, chief executive Andrew McConville revealed.
By law, the federal government is obligated to recover any remaining water, which would most likely involve voluntary water licence buybacks. It is understood the federal and state governments will consider whether extending the 2024 deadline is a viable option in February.However, several projects would need “another five to 10 years beyond 2024 to be finished”, while Menindee Lakes project will deliver significantly less water than anticipated after being reduced in size by the NSW government.