Chapter 8 of the Murray Darling Basin Plan sets out environmental objectives and targets for water-dependent ecosystems, a framework for managing planned and held environmental water, methods to identify environmental assets, and principles and methods to be applied when prioritising the application of environmental water, in line with the requirements of s28 of the Water Act (2007).
As part of an agreed process, the MDBA is required to review the effectiveness of EWP before the end of 2020 and within every five years thereafter. This this is a complex task given the EWP sets out many requirements for the MDBA, Basin States and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, several of which link to other clauses both within the EWP, and between the EWP and other chapters of the Basin Plan. This work was challenging given the complexity if the requirements and the inter-agency nature of the Plan.
Alluvium was engaged to gather together a body of evidence to understand the effectiveness of the EWP to contribute to the achievement of the objectives set out in the EWP and consolidate recommendations from these findings. More specifically, this work sought to determine how knowledge on best practice in planning and natural resource management may have changed since the EWP was last drafted, the perspectives of key stakeholders on how the EWP operates on the ground and the implications of particular clauses for practitioners.
We worked with the MDBA to evaluate the appropriateness (and/or effectiveness) of targets, requirements and objectives set out in the EWP (i.e. the overall appropriateness and effectiveness of the Plan and the performance measures within it).