As part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (the Basin Plan), NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is developing supply and efficiency measure projects to help recover water for the environment and productive use.

The Basin Plan sets sustainable diversion limits (SDL), which states how much water can be used in the Murray-Darling Basin, while leaving enough water for the environment. To provide flexibility, the Basin Plan also includes a mechanism to adjust SDLs. The Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) Program allows the SDLs to be adjusted up or down by a maximum of five per cent.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is responsible for delivering supply projects under the SDLAM program. This includes multiple infrastructure projects across three valleys and includes nine projects.

Within each of the SDLAM projects, alternate options are being considered to ensure the implementation and construction is both cost-effective, and best-meets service needs. To support this, each project will be assessed via a business case which will include a socio-economic assessment of the project impacts.
Alluvium Consulting Australia and Natural Capital Economics were engaged to identify, collate and assess the relevance and applicability of socio-economic studies / reports undertaken for the SDLAM project areas. The scope of the project included an assessment of the suitability of these studies / reports to inform socio-economic assessments as part of the development of supporting business cases. Additionally, the project identified the key information that would be required to develop a socio-economic profile for each of the SDLAM project regions and identify the possible sources for this information.

Ultimately our work will provide NSW government with confidence that the selected SDLAM projects have been assessed in a consistent and transparent way, taking socio-economic impacts into consideration.