So why do we need these programs and projects?
The Water Act (2007) and Basin Plan outline legislated reporting requirements for each of the Basin States and Territory (QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, ACT), the CEWH and the MDBA. For example, the CEWH must report on progress towards achieving a range of environmental objectives outlined in Schedule 7 of the Basin Plan and Basin-Wide Environmental Watering Strategy (BEWS). These objectives centre around four basin health objectives:
1. Hydrology: Increasing connectivity between rives and floodplains and reinstating a more natural flow regime
2. Vegetation: Maintaining and improving the condition and extent of water-dependent vegetation
3. Waterbirds: Increasing abundance and maintaining diversity of waterbirds
4. Fish: Protecting native fish species by improving population structures, increasing movement, and expanding distributions.
So far, we have presented a lot of information about the different MER projects and programs, but what does this look like in the real world? How does the CEWH use science from the Flow-MER Program in making decisions about when, where, and how to deliver Commonwealth environmental water?