Contributing authors Holland, G., Watson, G., Nielsen, D., Purbrick, S. and Collett, K.
In 2009, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) instigated the development of a Water Quality and Salinity Management Plan as part of the Basin planning process required under the Australian Government’s Water Act 2007. Within this context, SKM was commissioned to carry out a project that would: 1. review the existing end-of-valley targets with the expectation of providing directions on future targets and potential approach for integrating the existing arrangements within the Basin planning process 2. develop a process for setting salinity objectives and targets for inclusion in the MDB Water Quality and Salinity Management Plan 3. recommend salinity objectives and targets for inclusion in the Water Quality and Salinity Management Plan. This is the third in a series of four reports that document the outcomes of the project. It provides a process from which to derive water salinity objectives and targets that will be applied to the development of the Basin Plan and to subsequent five yearly reviews of targets. The process is then applied to establish threshold salinities for environmental values identified in Report 1 (MDBA 2010a) and forms the basis for recommendations on targets to the authority. In considering these recommendations, the authority will need to consider tradeoffs between water quality and quantity outcomes for competing uses. Targets ultimately included in the Basin plan may therefore be decided within a broader framework that considers a range of Basin plan objectives. The two preceding reports provide key inputs into this report, including the basis for the selection of aquatic ecosystems, raw drinking water and irrigated agriculture as the environmental values upon which to focus salinity objectives and targets (Report 1); the assessment of stream salinity outcomes under historical land and water use across the Basin (Report 1); and the selection of operational monitoring targets as the most appropriate form of target that will satisfy the MDBA criteria for SMART targets (i.e. Targets that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound (Report 2)). These companion reports are as follows: a. Report 1 — Salinity Targets Review: Environmental values and data analysis (MDBA 2010a) b. Report 2 — Salinity Targets Review: A framework for, and review of sites, monitoring and targets (MDBA 2010b). This report is followed by a subsequent document c. Report 4 — Salinity Targets Review: Water Quality and Salinity Management Plan Objectives and Targets (MDBA 2010d) The fourth report provides the final recommendations on salinity targets for consideration by the MDBA in the development of the Basin plan.