The Basin files

This research report shows that the Murray-Darling Basin's new Inspector General, former AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty, has ignored key issues in his first annual report on the Northern Basin.

Strategic failure: submission on procurement of strategic water entitlements

The Australian National Audit Office is investigating so-called strategic water purchases in the Murray Darling Basin. The Australia Institute has prepared this submission on the procurement of strategic water entitlements. This submission relates to four “strategic” purchases of water in the Murrumbidgee, Warrego, Condamine-Balonne and...

Lhere Mparntwe management strategy 2019

The Lhere Mparntwe Management Strategy 2019 aims to manage the Todd and Charles Rivers in a coordinated and collaborative way to ensure that they are ecologically healthy and widely recognised as iconic symbols of Alice Springs with tangible cultural, environmental, social and economic values.
Briefing paper

Murray Darling Basin: fish kills and current conditions

​This Issues Backgrounder covers recent fish kills in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB). It focuses on the investigations into three large fish kills that occurred near Menindee on the Darling River over the 2018-19 summer.

The Murray-Darling Basin scandal: economists have seen it coming for decades

Billions of dollars have been spent on infrastructure schemes that have failed to deliver any measurable improvement in water flows or the state of the environment, writes John Quiggin.

Southern discomfort: water losses in the southern Murray Darling Basin

Decisions by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to flood the Barmah-Millewa forest and drain Menindee Lakes have reduced water for NSW Murray general security holders, who have zero allocation for 2018-19. This research estimates an allocation of between 16% and 61% could have been...
Briefing paper

Briefing note: first steps to fix the Murray-Darling Basin

The mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin has become a national issue in 2019. While the Basin’s problems are widely discussed, solutions are not. This paper outlines some practical steps to turn around the fortunes of the Basin and its people.
Discussion paper

#WaterMates: the buyers and sellers of Australia’s most controversial water

The Australia Institute has released this additional analysis of the controversial $80 million water deal between the Department of Agriculture and Water and a company domiciled in the Cayman Islands. The analysis shows the close collaboration between the department and the company selling the water...
Briefing paper

Snapshot of Australian water markets

Outlines the main features of Australia’s water markets and details key factors influencing water prices in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Polling – Murray Darling Basin

The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of Australians in 2018 and in 2019 about their views towards issues surrounding the health and management of the Murray Darling Basin.

Independent assessment of the 2018–19 fish deaths in the lower Darling

An Independent Panel was appointed by the Australian Government to determine the cause of the fish deaths in the lower Darling River and what actions can be taken to manage future events. The final report documents the panel’s findings and 27 recommendations.

The national river interlinking scheme: a solution to India’s water challenges?

This paper outlines how India has other options available to it that would improve its water security.
Discussion paper

Owing down the river

Drought, the Menindee fish kills and the South Australian Royal Commission have put the Murray Darling firmly in the public spotlight. The management of the northern Basin and the role of the cotton industry are central to ongoing policy debate.

Water flows in the Murray-Darling Basin: observed versus expected - summary report

The Wentworth Group conducted a study to evaluate whether environmental water recovery has led to observable increases in river flows at two key sites along the Murray-Darling Basin. This summary report outlines the findings.

Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission report

South Australia's Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan has handed down its final report. The year-long investigation was prompted by allegations of water theft by cotton farmers in New South Wales.

Murray-Darling Basin Plan: five-year assessment

This report makes findings on progress to date in implementing the Basin Plan and recommendations on actions required to ensure effective achievement of the plan's outcomes. Most of the recommendations involve incremental improvements to the current arrangements.
Discussion paper

A fish kill Q and A: questions, answers and dead fish in the Menindee Lakes

This research by the Australia Institute suggests that the Darling River fish kill was due to the mismanagement of the Menindee Lakes in southwest New South Wales.
Discussion paper

Coorongs don’t make a right: fraud risks and environmental water in the Murray Darling Basin

An audit written by Ernst and Young (EY) found the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, and the near $3.2 billion worth of water it controls, was at risk of being defrauded by state agencies, individual officers within those agencies and private landholders. The Australia Institute has...
Policy report

A new deal for the rivers and waterways of Melbourne’s west: law and policy reform for waterway protection and new models of urban design

This report proposes legislative and policy reforms for the protection and repair of the rivers and creeks across Melbourne’s west.