Strengthening compliance and protecting environmental flows

​​​​The Australian Government is implementing a package of initiatives to support implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

The package includes initiatives to improve compliance with water laws and protect environmental water.

Focus of initiatives

These initiatives recognise that a healthy working Basin requires a strong compliance culture and protection of environmental flows.

These initiatives will help restore public trust and ensure we achieve the best possible environmental outcomes in the Basin.

Hydrometric networks and monitoring technologies

The Australian Government has committed $20 million to enhance water measurement and monitoring, and compliance capability in all Murray-Darling Basin (Basin) jurisdictions.

Murray‑Darling Basin state and territory governments (Basin States) and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) have been invited to submit proposals under the Hydrometric Networks and Remote Sensing Funding Program (the Program). Program Guidelines are available.


​Document Pages File size
Hydrometric Networks and Remote Sensing Funding Program Program Guidelines PDF 13 224 KB
Hydrometric Networks and Remote Sensing Funding Program Program Guidelines DOCX 13 88 KB

Proposals that will be considered under this program include projects that support:

  • improved hydrometric networks in the northern Basin
  • the development of remote sensing and other relevant technologies across the Basin.

Remote sensing (and other relevant technologies) includes the scanning of the earth by satellite or aircraft.

Hydrometric networks are systems that enable the monitoring and measurement of water. Hydrometric networks may include:

  • physical infrastructure that allows for water data to be sent or shared
  • data information systems used in water management. 

The application period for Basin States and the MDBA opened on Tuesday 27 November 2018, and closes on Friday 8 February 2019.

Applications will be assessed against assessment criteria as part of a competitive process.

Northern Basin Commissioner

The Northern Basin Commissioner will:

  • oversee progress in water-use compliance
  • collate information to increase our understanding of the northern Basin river systems
  • report on delivery of Northern Basin Review​ recommendations and toolkit works and measures.

Learn more about the Northern Basin Commissioner.

Protecting environmental flows

The Australian Government will continue working with the NSW Government to establish mechanisms to protect environmental flows, particularly in the northern Basin.

Basin Compliance Compact

On 8 June 2018 the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council agreed to the new Basin Compliance Compact​. The compact was released on 21 June 2018 and will be considered at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting.

The compact will help ensure that Australian and state governments take a consistent and transparent approach to compliance and enforcement.

The compact sets out a compliance implementation framework for each Basin jurisdiction and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).

Payments to Basin states made under the National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray–Darling Basin will also be linked to implementation of compact commitments.

Murray–Darling Basin Authority review of compliance and enforcement

The Australian Government will strengthen compliance with Basin water laws by implementing key recommendations of the MDBA’s Murray–Darling Basin water compliance review.


The Australian Government and the Basin state​s will continue to work together to deliver on the compliance and environmental water initiatives.

Our Water Division will oversee and report on the delivery of these initiatives.


​Document Pages File size
MDBA Basin-wide water compliance review PDF 148 1.3 MB
MDBA The Northern Basin Review PDF 57 3.2 MB
Basin Compliance Compact PDF 50 2.0 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Learn more about the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

Last reviewed: 12 October 2020
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