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Constraints Management Strategy

Across the Murray-Darling Basin, there are physical and operational barriers, known as constraints, that limit the environmental flows that can be delivered and the outcomes that can be achieved.

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Constraints Management Strategy

Following the completion of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in 2012, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority was requested to develop a Constraints Management Strategy to explore how the plan could deliver better environmental outcomes by allowing some overbank environmental flows. 

In 2014 the MDBA completed the first phase (Phase 1) of the Constraints Management Strategy – the prefeasibility phase. The strategy identified and described the key physical, operational and management constraints to the delivery of environmental flows in seven focus areas including the Goulburn River, and the cost of addressing these constraints. Following the completion of the prefeasibility phase, Basin Governments decided that each focus area should develop a business case for addressing environmental flow constraints (Phase 2).

A copy of the 2013 MDBA Constraints Management Strategy is available here.

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2016 Goulburn constraints project

As part of the Basin Plan (Phase 2 of the Constraints Management Strategy), the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (on behalf of the Victorian Government) and with the support of the MDBA developed a business case for the Goulburn River. The business case assessed:

  • the feasibility of delivering a range of flows along the river to inundate the lower Goulburn River floodplain;
  • what land, businesses and infrastructure could be affected by those flows; and
  • the options to mitigate or offset impacts and their cost.

A copy of the 2016 business case is available here.

Other reports and publications associated with the 2016 Goulburn constraints project are available here.

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2017 updated Goulburn constraints business case

In 2017 the Victorian Government updated the Phase 2 Goulburn constraints business case and investigated opportunities to address constraints to the delivery of higher flows at Shepparton.

This updated business case provided the basis for consideration of relaxing constraints in the Goulburn River that has moved into the next phase of constraints management, the Victorian Constraints Measures Program.

A copy of the 2017 updated Goulburn constraints business case is available  here

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Victoria’s current Constraints Measures Program

The Victorian Constraints Measures Program (Victorian CMP) is currently underway (as at June 2022) and will investigate relaxing constraints so that environmental water can be efficiently used to generate environmental benefits. It will examine relaxing physical and operational constraints in three River reaches:

  • Goulburn River, from Lake Eildon to the confluence with the Murray River (‘Goulburn’).
  • Murray River, from Lake Hume to Yarrawonga Weir (‘H2Y’).
  • Murray River, from Yarrawonga Weir to the confluence of the Wakool River (‘Y2W’).

Stage 1A of the Victorian CMP (the current stage) involves working with a community consultative committee. The purpose of this stage is to fill data gaps, update modelling tools, and evaluate a range of options to increase flow rates. The results of this stage will provide the basic information needed to identify if there are sensible value-for-money options to relax constraints that warrant detailed investigation.

The project is being delivered by the Department of Environment, Land and Water Planning (DELWP) and you can read more about the Victorian CMP  here.

For further information on the Victorian CMP, and next steps for this project, please contact:       

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

PO Box 500, Melbourne VIC 8002

Ph: 136 186 or visit: www.delwp.vic.gov.au

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