Letting the light in on river operation costs

3 September 2019
  • Review of MDBA costs running the Murray system to be completed this year
  • Data will be publically released on the MDBA website
  • Gives irrigators information so they can see how their charges are calculated

Irrigators will soon be able to see what it costs to run the River Murray system with reviews of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s costs every three years.

Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud said the first review would be completed by December and published on the MDBA website for all to see.

“Irrigators contribute to the cost of running the river and it’s important they know what they’re being charged for,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This way they will know what they’re paying for and how the costs are shared.

“This brings further accountability and transparency to the Basin for all water users.

“This is important during a drought when low water availability creates stress among communities.

“The operating costs are shared between the Commonwealth and Southern Basin states who fund it through fees and charges on users.

“The MDBA manages the system including dam maintenance, monitoring water quality, managing salinity and gathering river information.

“This improves transparency so river communities can see they’re getting value for money.

“Farmers, towns and the river environment are all beneficiaries of a well-run system.

“Triennial cost reviews will show states and communities exactly what it takes to run the system.”

Fast facts:

  • The budget to operate the River Murray in 2018-19 was $74 million.
    • 34% ($25m) from NSW, 32% ($24m) from Victoria, 26% ($19m) from SA and 8% ($6m) from the Commonwealth
  • The infrastructure of the River Murray has a replacement value in excess of $4 billion
  • The MDBA is responsible for managing costs of running the river system on behalf of the three state governments and the Commonwealth under the Water Act.