Queensland Murray-Darling Basin
The Murray-Darling Basin is home to Australia's most significant river system, and 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 manage the water resources of the basin in a way that best meets social, economic and environmental needs.
- 22 Feb 2019: The new Border Rivers and Moonie and Condamine and Balonne water plans are now available. These will be submitted to the Murray-Darling Authority for accreditation.
- The annual environmental priorities for 2017-18 (PDF, 567KB) have been released.
- The Warrego, Paroo, Bulloo and Nebine water plan and resource operations plan have been revised and were accredited in June 2017.
Water management in the basin
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan provides the framework to manage the water resources of the basin. The aim of the plan is to ensure that water is shared between all users, including the environment, in a sustainable way. It does this by managing the basin as 1 system.
The plan was developed with input from all basin states and came into effect in November 2012. It will be reviewed and revised throughout its 7-year implementation period.
In Queensland, the plan is being implemented primarily through the review of our existing statutory instruments such as water plans and healthy waters management plans. This work is being undertaken by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and the Department of Environment and Science.
Although it underlies the basin, the underground water of the Great Artesian Basin is not considered part of the basin water resources.
Rural water management program
The Rural Water Management Program will drive more transparent, sustainable and equitable rural water management in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin region, and across the state. The program will deliver more transparent water information, stronger metering and a more robust compliance program. It will also review the regulatory framework to protect entitlements and provide equitable and secure access.
Water resource plans
The basin plan requires the preparation of water resource plans (WRPs) for each water resource plan area. These WRPs are different to Queensland's existing statutory water plans.
Queensland's WRPs include existing water planning documents, such as water plans, water management protocols and operations manuals, as well as healthy waters management plans and supporting scientific assessments.
Three state water plans are part of the plan package:
- Condamine and Balonne water plan
- Border Rivers and Moonie water plan
- Warrego, Paroo, Bulloo and Nebine water plan (the Bulloo catchment is not part of the Murray-Darling Basin and is not subject to the basin plan).
Consultation on the water resource plans has taken place through the Queensland water planning process.
The Warrego, Paroo, Bulloo and Nebine water plan and water management protocol have been revised and were accredited in June 2017.
The Condamine and Balonne and Border Rivers and Moonie water plans were released in February 2019 and will be submitted for accreditation.
Management of environmental water
Water to ensure the health of rivers, floodplains and wetlands is managed through the combined efforts of the Queensland and Australian governments.
To achieve the objectives of the basin plan, the Australian Government has acquired a portfolio of water entitlements for the environment through its buyback program. Queensland provides water for the environment through the management rules and arrangements in the water plans.
For more information, see:
- Annual environmental priorities for 2017-18 (PDF, 567KB)
- Warrego, Paroo and Nebine long-term watering plan (PDF, 1.7MB)
- Report summarising the management of the March 2018 Lower Balonne flow event
Support for agricultural businesses and communities
We are implementing the Australian Government's Regional Economic Diversification Program to support economic development projects in communities most likely to be affected by the implementation of the plan.
We are also supporting irrigators to improve on-farm irrigation infrastructure through our Healthy HeadWaters program. Our Natural Resource Management Investment Program provides funding for local sustainability projects.
Contact your local business centre for more information on Queensland's Murray-Darling Basin.
Also consider ...
- 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.
- Read about regional natural resources management projects.
- 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.
- Last reviewed: 22 Feb 2019
- Last updated: 15 May 2019