National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement of $66 million to modernise and integrate Basin River modelling to provide more timely and accurate information about water availability.

The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) currently uses 24 individual river system models linked together to describe the surface water resources of the Basin. The upgrade will simplify access to information and provide greater transparency for state and federal water entities, Basin communities and industry.

A modernised and integrated system will enable existing MDBA and state government models to better talk to each other and help Murray-Darling Basin water managers make more time, more reliable and transparent water management decisions. The upgrading is expected to be completed by July 2024.

NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “As improved technology becomes available, it is important that systems are continually upgraded to enhance capability to build our understanding around environmental factors and what future climate impacts will mean for water availability, river hydrology and the way rivers are operated.

“Modelling also provides information regarding water flows, water quality and ecosystems and forms part of the approach of river and water managers in making informed decisions.

“As part of the proposed upgrade, NIC would also welcome any opportunity to remove duplication and/or inefficiencies occurring between Commonwealth and State agencies in relation water management and environmental water planning.

“The agriculture sector needs access to transparent water data to understand the way decisions are made by the Basin’s water managers and to understand how modelling is used at all times and particularly during periods of risks to water availability under different climatic conditions.

“NIC has also long advocated that water market information be improved by including clearer and timelier information on water supply, demand, delivery constraints, allocation and use.

“Future scenario planning and decision making is critical to enable better management models for food and fibre producers, for communities and for the application of environmental water.”

Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 89