Queensland Murray-Darling Basin
The Murray-Darling is Australia's most significant river system. Its basin covers parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
Along with the Australian Government and other basin states, we are working to bring the basin back to a healthier and sustainable level, while continuing to support economic development and jobs in regional communities.
- August 2023: The moratorium notice for works to take contaminated agricultural runoff has been withdrawn—read the withdrawal notice (PDF, 130KB). New works to capture contaminated agricultural runoff in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin will be required to operate under store and release arrangements.
- The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water has published the long-term watering plans for Border Rivers and Moonie, Condamine and Balonne and Warrego, Paroo, Nebine. These plans identify priority environmental assets, functions, objectives and targets for each of the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin water plan areas.
- The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water has published the Rural Water Futures Progress and Performance Report 2021 (PDF, 1.5MB).
- The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water has published Regulatory Strategy: Water Resource Management 2022–24.
- The Queensland annual environmental watering priorities for 2023–24 have been released for Border Rivers and Moonie, Condamine and Balonne and Warrego, Paroo, Nebine.
- The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water has published a report on the Derivation of Long-Term Diversion Limit Equivalent Factors (PDF, 577KB). The Murray Darling Basin Authority uses this report when water recovery is required to achieve surface water and groundwater sustainable diversion limits.
Murray-Darling Basin Plan
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan (Basin Plan) is the overarching plan to manage the basin as a whole connected system. It was agreed to in 2012 by all the basin jurisdictions.
The Basin Plan sets the amount of water that can sustainably be taken from the basin each year as well as water recovery targets. The Australian Government is responsible for recovering the water to achieve the Basin Plan water recovery targets by June 2024. Read more information on the Australian Government's water recovery program.
Note: Although it underlies parts of the Murray-Darling Basin, the underground water of the Great Artesian Basin is not considered part of the basin water resources.
Implementation of the plan in Queensland
Under the Basin Plan, each Basin State and Territory government is required to prepare a water resource plan for each catchment identified in the Basin Plan. The water resource plans are submitted to the Australian Government for accreditation against the sustainability requirements of the Basin Plan.
Queensland has 3 fully accredited water resource plans:
- Condamine and Balonne (accredited September 2019)
- Border Rivers and Moonie (accredited September 2019)
- Warrego, Paroo and Nebine (accredited June 2017).
These water resource plans are made up of key Queensland water planning instruments including water plans, water management protocols and operations manuals, as well as healthy waters management plans and supporting scientific assessments. Find the key water planning instruments for each plan area in Queensland.
Current Queensland initiatives
The Northern Basin Toolkit measures are a suite of environmental works and measures that support improve environmental outcomes under the Basin Plan . These include:
- management rules and arrangements to protect environmental flows
- improved coordination and delivery of environmental water
- environmental works to promote fish and ecosystem health
- improved social and economic benefits for Indigenous and local communities (e.g. through hiring and purchasing).
Read more information on Northern Basin Toolkit projects.
Fencing the Northern Riverbanks
The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water is working with delivery partner Southern Queensland Landscapes and landholders in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin to deliver the $7.5 million Fencing the Northern Riverbanks Program. This program is funded by the Australian Government to support waterway health and the health of native fish in priority areas.
The program is on track to deliver over 500km of waterway fencing and off-stream stock watering points, which will help keep stock out of our waterways and support regeneration of riparian habitat. Read more information on the Fencing the Northern Riverbanks Program.
Murray-Darling Compliance Compact
We are undertaking a program of improvements to the management, measurement and reporting of rural water resources, which will help us deliver our commitments under the Murray-Darling Compliance Compact.
The Rural Water Futures program is driving more transparent and sustainable rural water management across the State and will publish an annual performance report as part of our performance excellence framework.
To meet our commitments under the compact we have:
- developed our compliance approach to guide how we consistently and professionally manage compliance
- reported on the compliance and enforcement actions that Queensland has taken over the past 4 years to respond to non-compliance issues in the Murray-Darling Basin catchment area. Read the reports
We have also developed a Reporting framework for significant water management decisions involving discretion (PDF, 150KB).
The framework sets out how we will report on these decisions, such as notices that limit the taking of water in times of drought. Read the decisions on the catchment water plans.
Contact your local business centre for more information on Queensland's Murray-Darling Basin.
- Read about our role as a water regulator: compliance approach and principles.
- Find out more about Indigenous water reserves.
- Get streamflow and groundwater data from the Queensland Government Water monitoring information portal.
- Access maps and water data using Queensland Globe or the water entitlement viewer.
- Find out about river improvement trusts and their work.
- View price information for permanent water allocation trades and relocatable water licences.
- Read about water planning and learn where to find information in the new water planning documents.
- Read the Water planning science plan 2020–2030 to find out how we use science to develop water plans and improve water planning.
- Read the Australian Government information about the Basin Plan.
- Last reviewed: 24 Sep 2023
- Last updated: 14 Dec 2023