MMCP Collaboration Project
The MMCP Collaboration project aims to provide quality scientific research that is highly valued and used by water policy and management.
Activities undertaken as part of the project will occur within Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin, an area which holds important environmental, economic, cultural and social values. The Basin spans the states of:
- South Australia
- New South Wales
- the Australian Capital Territory
The Murray–Darling Basin Authority has developed a Basin-wide environmental watering strategy that aims to protect and restore key water-dependent ecosystems within the Basin. The MMCP Collaboration will contribute supporting science to underpin this watering strategy.
The objectives of the project are to improve:
- understanding of the relationship between flow, ecosystem function and biodiversity
- managers’ capacity to predict the environmental outcomes of water management and complementary natural resource management
- capacity to evaluate the threats to ecosystem function and diversity under a range of water management and climate scenarios
- capacity to assess ecosystem condition and identify the interventions most likely to effectively and efficiently achieve environmental objectives.
The Murray–Darling Basin Joint Governments have invested $1m per year, over five years (2015–19) for the Centre for Freshwater Research to carry out activities under the MMCP Collaboration. All funded activities conducted under the MMCP Collaboration are reported directly to the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.
The Centre for Freshwater Research reports directly to the Murray–Darling Basin Authority for all funded activities conducted under the MMCP Collaboration. The Murray–Darling Basin Authority is responsible for notifying and engaging the Joint Government Representatives (JGR) and Basin Officials Committee (BOC) of these activities.
The Joint Government Representatives (JGR) includes delegates from the Commonwealth and each of the Basin state governments. The role of the Joint Government Representatives (JGR) is to provide advice to the Murray–Darling Basin Authority on funded activities conducted under the MMCP Collaboration. They also facilitate the flow of information about the MMCP Collaboration to the Basin Officials Committee (BOC).
The Basin Officials Committee (BOC) was established by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority as part of the Water Act 2007. Their role is to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the Commonwealth, the Basin states and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority in the management of the Basin.
There are five research areas:
In collaboration with the Basin Officials Committee (BOC), the MMCP Collaboration will deliver responses to two research questions each year. These questions will be responded to in the form of synthesis papers. These papers will improve predictive capacity that in collaboration with the Basin Officials Committee (BOC), the MMCP Collaboration will deliver responses to two research questions each year.
These questions will be responded to in the form of synthesis papers. These papers will improve predictive capacity that link key ecosystem function and processes with management activities within the Murray–Darling Basin.
Communication ensures that the work undertaken throughout the MMCP Collaboration is disseminated in a useful way to a variety of audiences. Communication activities may include (but are not limited to):
- Forums and workshops
- Web page and social media updates
- Media releases
- Community events
- Fact sheets and newsletter updates
- Publication of findings in peer-reviewed journals
Student support was an important component, with postgraduate students being able to carry out high-quality research at a reasonable cost and make an important contribution to the development of aquatic research capability. Student support was provided through the provision of cadetships, honours scholarships and PhD ‘top-up’ scholarships. MMCP Collaboration funded:
- Four cadetships
- Five honour students
- Six PhD top-up scholarships
The MMCP Collaboration will benefit water policy and management through:
- Improved understanding of ecosystem flow requirements and the factors that facilitate or limit outcomes will enable more effective and efficient use of environmental water.
- Improved predictive capacity of the outcomes of environmental flows will support planning and operational decisions around environmental flows. This will be important in situations where volumes of water are less then specified water requirements; for example, during periods of drought.
- Increased understanding of the influence of other stressors may lead to the development of innovative and efficient restoration initiatives. This will be particularly important in systems with limited volumes of environmental water such as some rivers in the Northern Basin.
- Identification of complementary Natural Resource Management activities that will enhance outcomes of environmental flows. These will both enhance the efficiency of environmental flows and provide a focus for engagement with regional communities.
- Maintenance of capacity to rapidly respond to emerging risks such as anoxic black-water, salinity and blue-green algal blooms.
The main stakeholders involved in the MMCP Collaboration include:
- MDBA – The Murray-Darling Basin Authority
- JGR – Joint Government Representatives
- BOC – The Basin Officials Committee
Each of these groups has a role in the governance structure for the MMCP Collaboration.