The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has released two new reports marking an important step in protecting environmental water.

Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said protecting environmental flows, protecting ecologically important small flows in the northern basin, and improved compliance were now a step closer to reality.

The reports,  Ecological needs of low flows in the Barwon-Darling: Technical Report and

Observed Flows in the Barwon-Darling 1990-2017: A Hydrological Investigation, aim to firm up the evidence and understanding following the Northern Basin Review that reported in 2016.

“These reports give us evidence confirming what communities had told us – not all environmental flows and small flows were getting through,” Mr Littleproud said.

“We now have an informed evidence base to continue with our measures to protect environmental flows and small flows, known as ‘toolkit’ measures.

“Concern around environmental flows and small flows were expressed during the disallowance debate over the Northern Basin Review last month.

“These reports give us a springboard to improve the effectiveness of environmental flows and small flows.

“These reports show some progress has already been made to deliver on the ‘toolkit’ measures that New South Wales, Queensland and the Commonwealth all signed on to.

“New South Wales has established a Taskforce to push this important work forward—along with implementing actions arising from its Matthews compliance review. The reports will feed directly into the work of the Taskforce.

“That Taskforce will report within 90 days on recommended immediate and long-term solutions to protect environmental and small flows.

“This is the way the Basin Plan was always designed to work — to take new information and to improve our management of this vital national resource.

“The Basin Plan remains our best pathway for delivering certainty for communities, farmers and the environment.”

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