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Managing water quality

Managing flows, wherever possible, can help to mitigate salinity, turbidity, fluctuating water temperature and dissolved oxygen shortages.

Water quality is managed in partnership by the Australian Government and the Basin state and territory governments.

At the local level, communities and landholders are working together, with the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and local and state governments, to reduce salinity and improve water quality overall.

Water resource plans must include water quality management plans. These plans identify key causes of water quality degradation and risks to water quality and incorporate water quality and salinity targets. They also specify cost-effective measures that will be undertaken to achieve water quality objectives.

Water quality targets are set out in the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement and the Water Quality Guidelines, under the National Water Quality Management Strategy.

The MDBA annually assesses performance against water quality targets for managing water flows, and evaluates Basin Plan water quality outcomes every five years.

The MDBA’s Guideline: ‘having regard’ to Water Quality Targets for Managing Water Flows applies to the management of water flows by the MDBA, the Basin Officials Committee and agencies of the Basin states, and decisions about the use of environmental water by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, holders of held environmental water and managers of planned environmental water.


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