An important feature of the BSMS is the salinity-based accounting system, the BSMS Salinity
Registers. The Salinity Registers allow states to continue to pursue economic development (such
as expanded irrigation areas) providing that each government maintains its river salinity impacts
in balance or in credit. While actions such as irrigation can generate a debit on the Salinity
Registers, credits may be achieved by investment in infrastructure or by changed management
practices. Typical examples of credit actions are investments in salt interception schemes, or
changes to land and water management practices that reduce in-stream salinity levels.
Annually, each State and Territory Government provides information to the MDBA on activities
that have significant salinity effects for the year. The MDBA calculates the salinity cost of
these activities and updates the Salinity Registers which are then subject to an annual independent
To date, each state government has maintained its register entries primarily in credit whilst
also providing opportunities for economic development that are essential to sustain viable regional
communities. The concept of an accounting system that requires actions that increase salt to the
river to be offset by activities that prevent salt from entering the river is relatively simple.
However, the computer models and methods associated with the calculation of the Salinity Registers
are technically complex, particularly the need for predictions of impacts in the years 2050 and 2100.
South Australia invests in this partnership with the MDBA on an ongoing basis to ensure its registersí
balance is based on best available data.
Reporting plays a critical role in demonstrating transparency and that partner governments are
committed to delivering on their responsibilities under the strategy. Reporting provides an annual
update of the Salinity Registers, summarises monitoring programs, and shows progress in catchment
actions and improved knowledge. An annual salinity audit of each jurisdiction and the MDBA office
also provides an independent assessment of progress and compliance with the commitments to the strategy,
as laid out in the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.