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Prerequisite policy measures

Prerequisite policy measures are legislative and operational rule changes that will improve the use, management and accounting of water for the environment in the southern-connected Murray–Darling Basin. The Basin Plan outlines these measures and required them to be implemented by 1 July 2019. The MDBA has conducted an assessment process to ensure that these measures have been appropriately implemented in state water management frameworks. A set of criteria was used to assess evidence that environmental water can piggyback on an unregulated event and be re-credited for use downstream at environmental sites.


MDBA position statement

Prerequisite policy measures, are part of the new management framework that has been established to manage water in the Basin. These measures are required under the Basin Plan to maximise the outcomes of water recovered for the environment without impacting on other water users. The measures are legislative, operational and highly technical, and are vital because they ensure enduring and effective use of water for the environment. These measures are intended to be adaptable and appropriate reviews will inform their refinement and improvement over time. They are one of many critical mechanisms in the Basin Plan that adapt water management arrangements to accommodate for the efficient and effective use of water for the environment.

Assessment reports

The MDBA’s assessment process used a set of criteria to determine that the measures were in effect by 1 July 2019. The criteria developed by the MDBA ensures that implementation arrangements are secure and enduring, fully operable and transparent. The assessment provides important assurance for environmental water holders in the management of their entitlements, without adversely affecting the reliability of other water entitlements.

The Independent River Operations Review Group conducted a review of the MDBA’s assessment to ensure that the criteria was consistently applied and robust and evidence-based conclusions were reached. The findings support the MDBA’s comprehensive assessment process and the conclusions that the measures are in effect in all relevant jurisdictions.  

Prerequisite policy measures assessment: River Murray System
Prerequisite policy measures assessment: Victoria
Prerequisite policy measures assessment: South Australia
Prerequisite policy measures assessment: New South Wales
Independent review of the MDBA’s assessment of the prerequisite policy measures assessment implementation
Reports from Basin state governments

As part of the assessment process, each Basin state government provided material to demonstrate that prerequisite policy measures had been appropriately implemented by July 1 2019. The overarching documents below explain how these measures have been implemented in the unique water management arrangements in each state. The evidence in these reports was judged against the assessment criteria and informed the MDBA’s determination that measures are in effect. It is important to note that these documents form part of a package provided by Basin state governments to the MDBA for assessment.

Prerequisite Policy Measures Implementation in Victoria
Prerequisite Policy Measures Implementation in South Australia
Addressing the criteria to assess the Pre-requisite policy measures