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The 2017 evaluation of the Basin Plan is a health check on Basin Plan progress five years in.

The Basin Plan’s monitoring and evaluation program requires five yearly reporting on the outcomes and effectiveness of the Basin Plan. Initially, the first five yearly evaluation was due to take place in 2017. In 2014 an independent review of the Water Act recommended shifting the five yearly evaluation cycle to start in 2020, so that it better aligned with implementation milestones and a number of other Basin Plan reviews.

The Australian Government agreed to this recommendation, but also suggested the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) consider conducting a pilot or interim evaluation in 2017 to provide preliminary results to communities on key areas of interest. The MDBA agreed to this, noting that an interim evaluation would also help inform preparation of the first full evaluation involving all Basin governments in 2020.

With the Basin Plan not yet fully implemented, the purpose of this evaluation is to:

• report to stakeholders about whether the implementation is on track and outcomes so far

• identify options to improve future implementation

• lay the groundwork for a more detailed evaluation in 2020, which will include reports from all Basin governments

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