Includes the deliverables and reporting requirements of the project.

Deliverables

On 7 November 2006, the Prime Minister of Australia, the State Premiers of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and the Acting Premier of Queensland, commissioned the consultant to 'report progressively by the end of 2007 on sustainable yields of surface and groundwater systems within the Murray Darling Basin, including an examination of assumptions about sustainable yields in light of changes in climate and other issues'.

There are three main deliverables:

  1. Development of a transparent, consistent and robust methodology for determining the extent of available water resources in each major catchment/aquifer, and the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) as a whole, including guidance on:
    • how to adjust the historic flow records used in surface water models and the recharge assumptions used in groundwater models, to factor in climate change and other risks
    • how to address the interaction between surface and groundwater systems
    • identifying significant knowledge and information gaps.
  2. Application of the above methodology to estimate the quantity and temporal distribution of the water resources that are available in each major catchment/aquifer, and the Basin as a whole, having made any necessary adjustments to assumptions about climate or other risks.
    • comparison of the new estimates of water resources with those identified as necessary to meet the levels of extractive use (current entitlements, security of supply and actual use) and to achieve the stated environmental and other public benefit outcomes of existing water sharing plans
    • if there are catchments or aquifers within the Basin either without current water sharing plans or with plans for which environmental outcomes and/or levels of extractive use are not clear, these parameters will be inferred where possible using existing information (such as State water policies or existing regional NRM plans) and any assumptions clearly stated.
  3. Application of the above methodology to estimate water availability and demand 20 years into the future in the light of climate change and other risks
    • comparison of the new estimates of future water resources with those identified as necessary to meet the levels of extractive use (current entitlements, security of supply and actual use) and to achieve the stated environmental and other public benefit outcomes of existing water sharing plans.

Reporting

Three levels of reporting were envisaged as follows:

  1. Single page summary sheets that provide a graphical and tabulated summary of the predicted relative changes in water security and other indicators in the context of historical changes in water availability. These summaries will be produced for the entire basins and for each modelled catchment and are intended for non-technical audiences.
  2. Overview reports of ten pages or less (for the entire basin and each modelled catchment) that provide:
    • contextual information regarding use availability and use in the area
    • a summary of the assessed changes in surface water security; groundwater resource indicators and environmental flow indicators
    • interpretative text that outline the potential implications of the results for the catchment.
  3. Technical appendices that provide for each reporting area all the supporting detailed technical results including time series plots, flow durations curves, allocation reliability diagrams and statistical analyses.

These reports:

  • are likely to be large (50–100 pages per catchment) and intended for a technical audience
  • will provide a complete legacy of the technical work of the project and provide the underpinning information on which the defensibility of the summarised results
  • will fully document the audit trail of data and models which are used to produce the quantitative assessments of water availability and supply reliability.

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