MOST states are making good progress on their water resource plans, according to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's latest quarterly progress report.
But MDBA water resource planning and accounting executive director Peta Derham said the March report also showed NSW continued to lag behind in its submission.
"Water resource plans represent the on-ground delivery of the Basin Plan," she said.
"They set new and transparent rules on how much water can be taken from the river system and groundwater reserves, and ensure water use limits in each area are not exceeded over time.
"They give everyone confidence that water users are doing the right thing."
Dr Derham said this month the final three Vic plans for accreditation were recommended to Water Resources Minister Keith Pitt by the MDBA.
"Together with those already in place for the Wimmera-Mallee, these three plans will complete the package for Vic, which will then join Qld and SA in being fully compliant with the Basin Plan," she said.
There are 33 water resource plan areas in total: 19 for surface water, 19 for groundwater and five that cover both.
Eight have been completed, three are with the Minister for consideration, the two ACT plans are being assessed by the MDBA and the 20 NSWs plans are yet to be delivered for MDBA assessment.
Dr Derham said it was encouraging to see the NSW government restart stakeholder consultations to ensure their local water resource plans were fit for purpose and reflected the unique character of each catchment.
"We look forward to receiving advice from NSW about their intention to submit water resource plans for our assessment in the coming weeks," she said.
"Agreements have been in place to support the use of the Basin Plan's sustainable diversion limits since July 1, 2019, but it's important that the rules are formalised in the water resource plans and fully transparent for everyone to see."
Dr Derham said plans for northern NSW were expected to include commitments to effectively protect water for downstream communities and the environment during periods of low flow, consistent with the strong action taken by the state government to use embargoes that protected this year's first flows.
The MDBA's process to assess each water resource plan against the requirements of the Basin Plan is published along with the completed plans on the MDBA website at mdba.gov.au/basin-plan-roll-out/water-resource-plans.
The Quarterly Report is available at mdba.gov.au/publications/mdba-reports/water-resource-plan-quarterly-reports
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