The Murray–Darling Basin region

Overview of the 2012–13 year

Annual rainfall across the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) region was generally well below average for the 2012–13 year. These generally well below average rainfall conditions, compared to the well above average 2011–12 year, contributed to decreased inflows into the storages and a reduction of 5,175,406 ML in the volume of water held in storages over the 2012–13 year. Closing net water assets in the MDB region was 19,144,512 ML at the end of the 2012–13 year compared with 21,971,973 ML at the end of the 2011–12 year. For more information on the region's water assets refer to Water accounting statements.

Surface water met approximately 90% of the MDB region's water supply requirements over the 2012–13 year. This represented an increase of 3,216,580 ML from the previous year excluding environmental water use. The volume of groundwater extracted for water supply during the 2012–13 year was 1,209,782 ML, an increase of approximately 400,000 ML from the previous year. The increased use of surface water during the 2012–13 year was due to the abundance of surface water resources available for water supply (due to high storage volumes at the beginning of the year), coupled with the below average rainfall conditions over the year. The increased groundwater extraction was due to the increased demand resulting from below average rainfall conditions, combined with the abundance of groundwater resources resulting from increased recharge of aquifers in recent years.

The volume of surface water allocation trade (temporary trade) during the 2012–13 year was 5,985,629 ML, an increase of 46% from the previous year. This volume includes water traded for environmental delivery. Although there are many influencing factors on the trades, the abundance of surface water for allocation water trade and increased demands resulting from low rainfall were key contributing factors for the increased trade activity. In addition to surface water allocation trade, the volume of groundwater allocation trade within the region was 82,265 ML during the 2012–13 year. The volume of surface water entitlements permanently traded (intra-valley) within the MDB region during the 2012–13 year was 961,334 ML, a 13% decrease from the 2011–12 year.

Key water events within the MDB region during the 2012–13 year include South Australia receiving more than 900,000 ML of traded environmental water and increase in storage volume in Dartmouth Reservoir to 99% capacity in October 2012 the first time since 1997. Some of major water initiatives within the MDB region during the 2012–13 year were the adoption of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan in November 2012 and the commencement of seven water sharing plans for New South Wales catchments within the region. More information on significant water events and major water initiatives within the MDB region during the 2012–13 year is available in Significant water events and Major water initiatives.

The key water account information for the MDB region during the 2012–13 year is presented in the following table. Information on the uncertainty associated with the volumes presented in the table is provided in the relevant sections of the account.

 

Key water account information for the MDB region during the 2012–13 year


Contextual information: Climate overview
Climate Overview 2012–13 2011–12 Long–term average (1900–2012)
Rainfall: 377 mm Rainfall: 643 mm Rainfall: 471 mm
Evapotranspiration: 376 mm Evapotranspiration: 559 mm Evapotranspiration: 433 mm
For more detail on the MDB climate refer to Climate overview.

 

Contextual information: Water overview
Water overview Murray River at Doctors Point (Albury) Darling River at Bourke Ovens River at Peechelba
above mean annual flow well below mean annual flow just above mean annual flow
For more detail on streamflow in the MDB region refer to Water overview.

 

Water accounting statements
Accounting statements 2012–13 2011–12
Total water assets as at 30 June (ML) 23,350,733 29,271,923
Total water liabilities as at 30 June (ML) 4,206,221 7,299,950
Change in net water assets (ML) (2,827,461) 4,549,107
Closing net water assets (ML) 19,144,512 21,971,973
For more detail on water assets and water liabilities refer to Water accounting statements.

 

Notes: Water resources and systems

 

Surface water storage
Surface water 30 June 2013 30 June 2012
Total capacity Volume % of capacity Volume % of capacity
23,193,359 ML 16,011,790 ML 69% 21,187,196 ML 91%
For more detail on surface water in the MDB region refer to Surface water.

 

Water abstractions
Groundwater Total water abstracted  
2012–13 2011–12 Recent activity
Surface water: 10,687,045 ML Surface water: 7,470,465 ML Increased surface water (excludes environmental water use) and groundwater abstraction including for urban water systems.
Groundwater: 1,209,782 ML Groundwater: 810,060 ML
For more detail on the water abstraction in the MDB region refer to Surface water and Groundwater.

 

Urban water supply
Urban water supply Total water supplied  
2012–13 2011–12 Recent activity
415,695 ML 315,077 ML Increased abstraction for urban water systems
For more detail on the urban water supplied in the MDB region refer to Surface Water and Groundwater.

 

Surface water trade
Surfacewater trade Volume traded  
2012–13 2011–12 Recent activity
Entitlement: 961,334 ML Entitlement: 1,103,626 ML Increased allocation trade and decreased entitlement trade
Allocation: 5,985,629 ML Allocation: 4,104,354 ML
For more detail on surface water trade in the MDB region refer to Water market activity.