Constraints Management Strategy

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Constraints Management Strategy 2013 to 2024

Murray–Darling Basin Authority

Published by Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

MDBA Publication No. 28/13

ISBN 978-1-922177-64-3 (online)

ISBN 978-1-922177-66-7 (print)

© Murray–Darling Basin Authority for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of
Australia, 2013.

With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the MDBA logo, all photographs, graphics and trademarks, this publication is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.

cc by logo - creative commons licencing info

The MDBA’s preference is that you attribute this publication (and any material sourced from it) using the following wording:

Title: Constraints Management Strategy 2013 to 2024

Source: Licensed from the Murray–Darling Basin Authority, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.

The MDBA provides this information in good faith but to the extent permitted by law, the MDBA and the Commonwealth exclude all liability for adverse consequences arising directly or indirectly from using any information or material contained within this publication.

Cover Image: Darter, Barmah Forest, Keith Ward 2011.

Acknowledgement of the Traditional Owners of the Murray–Darling Basin

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority acknowledges and pays its respect to the Traditional Owners and their Nations of the Murray–Darling Basin. The contributions of earlier generations, including the Elders, who have fought for their rights in natural resource management, are also valued and respected.

The MDBA recognises and acknowledges that the Traditional Owners and their Nations in the Murray–Darling Basin have a deep cultural, social, environmental, spiritual and economic connection to their lands and waters. The MDBA understands the need for recognition of Traditional Owner knowledge and cultural values in natural resource management associated with the Basin. Further research is required to assist in understanding and providing for cultural flows. The MDBA supports the belief of the Northern Murray–Darling Basin Aboriginal Nations and the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations that cultural flows will provide beneficial outcomes for Traditional Owners.

The approach of Traditional Owners to caring for the natural landscape, including water, can be expressed in the words of Ngarrindjeri elder Tom Trevorrow: ‘our traditional management plan was don’t be greedy, don’t take any more than you need and respect everything around you. That’s the management plan—it’s such a simple management plan, but so hard for people to carry out.*1 This traditional philosophy is widely held by Traditional Owners and respected and supported by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.


1.Consultation on the draft Constraints Management Strategy 12

2.Introduction to the Constraints Management Strategy 16

3.Understanding constraints to water delivery across the Basin 24

4.Differences in the system between the north and the south 24

5.Development of the Constraints Management Strategy 30

6.Modelling of relaxing constraints during Basin Plan development 30

7.Basin-wide review of physical constraints 31

8.Consultation in key focus areas leading to the final Strategy 32

9.Identifying operational and management constraints 35

10.Overview of the Constraints Management Strategy 42

11.Overarching principles 44

12.Roles and responsibilities 46

13.A phased approach to addressing constraints 48

15.Pre-feasibility phase I: 2013 to 2014 49

16.Phase 2: Feasibility assessment – business case development and
Basin-scale prioritisation 2015 to mid-2016 50

17.Phase 3: Planning and implementation 2016 to 2024 50

18.Key steps in phase 1 52

19.Understanding the changes arising from the different flow events such as: area inundated, when, how often and for how long? 52

20.Assessing impacts and identifying benefits. 52

21.Identifying options to mitigate negative impacts, including preliminary assessment of project costs and any benefits of mitigation options. 52

22.Undertaking a Basin-scale analysis and prioritisation. 52

23.Benefits from addressing constraints 57

24.Interdependence of constraints 57

25.Costs of addressing constraints 57

26.Trade-offs between constraints 58

27.Funding available to address constraints 58

28.Key focus areas: pre-feasibility findings to date and priority actions for 2014 60

29.Hume Dam to Yarrawonga Weir 60

the need for specific modelling on the extent, frequency, timing and duration of proposed flows 61

the need to better understand potential impacts on council infrastructure and associated funding arrangements to address these impacts 61

business and economic impacts arising from reduced tourism, leisure and commercial activities that may result from limiting river access 61

reduced access to private properties or isolation of sections of farm land 61

how emergency response capability, communication and water safety will be assessed 61

process for timely, transparent and complete compensation for damage 61

how groups will financially represent themselves and whether there will be compensation for this 61

how to determine the potential costs and benefits to the Barmah–Millewa Forest and Koondrook–Perricoota forests, particularly in relation to reducing low flows and increasing medium to large flows. 61

30.Priority actions for 2014 61

Develop capacity to conduct opportunistic field monitoring of events which occur at the range of flows proposed: 61

Undertake a survey to measure the impact of flows at an individual property level, including the impact on access routes. 61

Investigate opportunities for stakeholders, including MRAG, to be equitably represented in future negotiations with governments, in a way that minimises the burden on them. 62

Form a steering committee through the existing Advisory Group for Hume to Yarrawonga Waterway Management representing concerned parties who would provide recommendations about the most appropriate way to assess and mitigate impacts. 62

Commence a feasibility study into access works and erosion mitigation. 62

31.Yarrawonga to Wakool Junction 63

reduced access to land preventing livestock management, harvesting and other associated land management activities 64

impacts on low-lying causeways and roads (particularly dirt) preventing the movement of heavy vehicles (including grain and livestock transportation) 64

impacts on the extensive network of timber bridges in the Wakool Shire 64

damage to fencing and the need to raise pumps 64

examining flows of up to 80,000 ML/day through Tocumwal 64

‘remote effects’ such as isolation of properties which do not directly front rivers 64

unknown effects of flows on the existing private and public levee infrastructure network 64

potential environmental risks including river red gum infestation and carp breeding etc. 64

environmental flows should be trialled incrementally to see what effects flows have on the ground 64

increased impacts to recreational infrastructure: foreshore parks, boating facilities, low-lying campgrounds and associated access tracks 64

additional higher flows may affect saline groundwater systems in the Wakool/Yallakool 64

risk of uncontrolled flood events and knowledge of the interactions of floodrunners and creeks with regard to overland flows 64

recognition that a ‘wet’ catchment will result in considerably different flow patterns to a ‘dry’ catchment 64

competing demand for channel share. 64

32.Priority actions for 2014 64

modelling of flows and associated inundation mapping of proposed flows 64

desk top assessment, field validation and liaison with potentially affected landholders and local government agencies to identify third party impacts at a range of flow rates 64

identification and description of potential mitigation strategies 65

investigating opportunities for stakeholders to be equitably represented in future negotiations with governments in a way that minimises the burden on them. 65

33.Goulburn 68

they don't want to see the Goulburn environment (e.g. bank erosion) or communities impacted solely to provide larger flows further downstream 69

40,000 ML/day at McCoys Bridge may be too risky as if a local rainfall event occurs as well, it could become a damaging flood (there may be a risk of unintended adverse consequences) 69

40,000 ML/day at McCoys Bridge is too close to triggering the statutory release formula for the Loch Garry flood protection scheme 69

increases in water levels don't have to be large to start affecting landholders in the mid-Goulburn, downstream of Lake Eildon. It should be acknowledged that Goulburn-Murray Water specifically constrains releases from Lake Eildon because of the risks of inundating private land in this reach 69

higher flows create access issues including road closures, these would occur in the Lower Goulburn floodplain at the range of flows being considered (25,000–40,000 ML/day) 69

the load on storm water drainage infrastructure during high river flows is a significant concern 69

risks to irrigation pumps 69

assessing the adequacy of the rainfall and river height gauging network to be able to trigger and manage environmental releases at a time of high river flows 69

how levee bank ownership and management will be considered 69

the backing up effects of high flows on tributaries means that it’s not just mainstem landholders that could be affected; there is the potential for new ‘breakaways’ to form if tributaries cannot freely drain. 69

want to see scenarios of what these high flows could look like (the sorts of river heights and rainfall conditions) and how they would be managed (i.e. not just a flow target) 69

need a better understanding of the role and unpredictability of tributaries in order to piggy-back environmental water on top of flow pulses. 69

34.Priority actions for 2014 69

continued commitment to active community involvement 70

improved understanding of the opportunities to supplement tributary flows 70

enabling environmental watering coordination between catchments 70

enhanced ability to forecast tributary inflows 70

improving the accuracy and confidence in flow inundation maps 70

identifying mitigation options for private and public assets 70

ensuring levee banks are to a standard strong enough to contain environmental flows 70

quantifying the broad range of impacts of delivering higher flows including issues and mitigation options 70

exploring opportunities to make policy changes to river operations 70

scoping out a regional flood warning and notification system. 70

35.Murrumbidgee 71

36.Priority actions for 2014 72

working with environmental water managers and ecologists to better define and refine the optimal flow height, frequency, duration and seasonality of environmental deliveries 72

verifying modelling and mapping of inundation areas already undertaken for the Murrumbidgee mainstem 72

development of modelling and mapping of potentially affected watercourses not previously undertaken; particularly for Old Man/Beavers Creek and the Upper Yanco Creek system 72

working with landholders to validate the above mapping and identify the types and scale of any potential impacts 72

identifying and undertaking a preliminary assessment (through literature review and community input) of potential mitigation measures, including a regulator at the Yanco Creek offtake. 72

38.Lower Darling 73

39.Priority actions for 2014 75

further development of inundation mapping for a range of flow scenarios 75

continued liaison with the Lower Darling community: to increase the understanding of flow pathways under the mapped flow scenarios and identify potential third party impacts and benefits that would result from higher flows 75

identify and describe potential mitigation strategies to address third party impacts that may result from higher flows. 75

40.Gwydir 76

potential impacts to the water market if there are significant rule changes proposed 77

significant concerns with the application of shepherding 77

water access licences within the same category should be treated with equal merit. 77

41.Priority actions for 2014 77

further development of inundation maps and increasing the understanding of flow pathways 77

analysing proposed inundation and flow pathways to identify potential impacts and benefits; including potentially affected land and infrastructure (land tenure, land use, infrastructure etc.) 77

identify and describe potential mitigation strategies of addressing constraints in the future. 77

42.The River Murray in South Australia 79

timing of flows, particularly with regard to impacts of higher flows on recreation and tourism activities 80

limitations to environmental flow delivery as a result of current river infrastructure (e.g. weirs) 80

avoiding low flows or the drying out of wetlands because of the impacts on water quality 80

ensuring any higher flows do not impact on infrastructure such as council roads, ferries, shacks and new environmental watering infrastructure. 80

43.Priority actions for 2014 80

44.Operational and management constraints explained 82

1.using environmental water in response to natural cues, and restoring natural variability including seasonality 82

45.that environmental water remains in-stream to target a range of sites and ecosystem functions in and between rivers 82

46.promoting the management of all water in the system to contribute environmental benefit. 82

1.Use environmental water in response to natural cues, and restore natural variability including seasonality 82

47.Environmental water remains in-stream to target a range of sites and ecosystem functions in and between rivers 84

48.Promote the management of all water in the system to contribute environmental benefit 87

49.Phase 1 actions 88

50.Key actions 89

protection of environmental water on an event basis, in particular, the Barwon–Darling 89

coordination of environmental water between valleys in the northern Basin. 89

51.Section 7.08 Constraints Management Strategy requirements 90

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