Since the completion of the Basin Plan, there has been something of a proliferation of scientific studies and projects, often without strong linkages to Plan outcomes, or to each other.
The various existing science programs, projects and reporting requirements in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) have differing funding, governance, and decision‐making models.
Alluvium was engaged to support the federal and state governments to better define the science and knowledge needs of the Murray Darling Basin and provide a more integrated governance model to ensure there is a clear science platform.
This project required an investigation of relevant national and international examples of successful science program strategies, including any relevant reviews or investigations undertaken by Basin jurisdictions, and how the learnings from these could be considered in a Basin Science Strategy.
The strategy development was driven by a number of multi jurisdictional workshops and provides a a model for incorporating future and emerging risks (e.g. Climate change), and other significant stressors on the aquatic environment (e.g. thermal pollution).
It outlined a process for optimising science outcomes with social and economic outcomes, including the need for parallel economic studies as part of science project development, and had agreed selection and project approval criteria that proposed science projects must meet before they are approved (including a risk assessment framework), to ensure alignment with the strategy.
The strategy required an agreed governance and decision‐making model for science delivery that involves all jurisdictions, and a process for data and knowledge and sharing across jurisdictions to allow sharing of learnings and outcomes.
It also articulated a 5 year and 10 year success criteria, to be incorporated into science project objectives and the science plan program logic.