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Constraints Relaxation Management

Managing Constraints for Environmental Water Outcomes 

Across the Murray-Darling Basin, there are physical and operational barriers - or “constraints” - that limit the environmental flows that can be delivered and the outcomes that can be achieved. Physical constraints include low lying bridges, roads and private land that would be flooded at higher flows, while operational constraints include river operating rules and practices.  

During development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in 2012, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) was requested to develop a Constraints Management Strategy to explore how the plan could deliver better environmental outcomes by allowing some overbank environmental flows. The Strategy set out to investigate how water can get to where it’s needed, when it’s needed while avoiding or mitigating impacts to riparian landholders, communities, and industries. The Strategy identified seven key areas where physical constraints need to be addressed to maximise the benefits of environmental water delivery and achieve environmental water objectives, including the Hume to Yarrawonga reach of the Murray River. The Hume to Yarrawonga Business Case was developed by the MDBA in 2016 which assessed the feasibility of delivering higher regulated flows of up to a maximum of 40,000 megalitres (ML) per day as measured at the Doctors Point gauge downstream of Hume Dam.  

Victoria’s Constraints Measures Program  

The Victorian Government is currently delivering Stage 1A of the Victorian Constraints Measures Program (CMP) which is a community co-design process to assess the benefits and risks of the program and its feasibility to progress to future Stages. The North East Catchment Management Authority is participating in Stage 1A of the Victorian CMP along with community and landholder representatives through a Consultative Committee. The Victorian CMP will examine relaxing constraints in three river reaches:  

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

The Victorian CMP is being delivered by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). For further information on the Victorian CMP please visit the Constraints Measures website, or 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