Modelling shows permanent ecological decline under current Plan

We've been busy highlighting the true ecological impact of the disastrous draft Basin Plan. Our lead Murray Darling Campaigner, Jonathan La Nauze,spent days pouring over dozens of publications to piece together the truth of what only 2750GL of extra environmental water would mean for the Basin's ecosystems. Our modelling shows what lives and what dies under the draft Basin Plan and clearly outlines that the draft fails to meet Australia's requirements under international obligations and does not satisfy the requirements of the Water Act.


  • Australia will lose at least eight of the Basin's 16 internationally listed Ramsar wetlands, including key waterbird nesting sites.This would put Australia in breach of its duties under the Ramsar agreement, which protect wetlands of global significance.
  • Large areas of the basin will suffer "permanent decline", with widespread loss of native fish, wetlands and coolibah woodlands, as well as increased salinity levels
  • The plan will fail to meet 48 specific ecological targetsneeded to maintain river health across the basin, with a further 36 targets in doubt. For example, our study estimates the plan will fail to meet four out of five targets for the Murrumbidgee wetlands, with loss of waterbird breeding sites, turtles, frog, native fish populations, wetlands and floodplain ecosystems.

As we've been saying all along - the best available science shows that only a minimum of 4000GL of extra water for the environment will protect these precious ecosystems for the future. Now that subsmissions on the draft Basin Plan have closed, it is up to us, as a community, to let our politicians know that when the final Plan is submitted to parliament, only the very best for our rivers is good enough. You can have your say via our photo petition or click here for tips on writing to your local MP.

Read our Submission the Murray Darling Basin Authority on the Proposed (Draft) Basin Plan that contains the details of the modelling of key ecological assets, as well as outlining in detail the major flaws in the draft.

We also presented our findings to a recent Senate Inquiry:Rural & Regional Affairs & Transport References Committee (Management of the Murray-Darling Basin system) and you can see our opening statement and modelling documents on our resources page.

The Canberra Times picked up the story following the Senate Inquiry and you can read the news report here."The authority had "never published a simple summary of what the proposed plan means for the environment," Mr La Nauze told the Senate rural affairs inquiry."