WLE's Salinity Management Framework
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  WLE Salinity Management Framework

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   Why a framework?

Basin Salinity Management Strategy - 1999:

The 1999 Salinity Audit found that the Salinity & Drainage Strategy had significantly improved salinity levels in the River Murray. However, the gains would be offset by large increases in salinity from the dryland areas of the basin if the combined impacts of irrigation, dryland, and natural salinity were not managed using a coordinated basin-wide approach.

The Basin Salinity Management Strategy (BSMS) (2001-2015) is a basin-wide agreement that establishes salinity targets for the main river and the tributary valleys of the system. The BSMS requires that responsibility for protecting key natural resource values be shared by both valley communities and the States. The strategy is consistent with the principles of the Integrated Catchment Management Policy Statement (ICM).

The BSMS has four main objectives that will be achieved through the applications of actions to meet salinity targets:

Much of the strategic implementation is in the hands of the catchment communities and is guided by salinity and catchment management plans. Under the previous Salinity & Drainage Strategy (1998), individual states were accountable for increases in salinity resulting from irrigation development since 1988. The new BSMS made the States accountable for the impacts of development post 2000. This strategy differentiates between accountability to offset the salinity impacts of future actions (new development) and responsibility to offset the salinity impacts of past actions (Murray Darling Basin Commission 2001; South Australia. Dept. for Water 2001).

A key feature of the BSMS is the adoption of salinity targets to be met by 2015. For every tributary river valley a “cap” was set on the total salt that could leave the catchment. Eight strategic actions were also part of the strategy:

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