The Murray–Darling Basin Plan: An Adaptive Response to Ongoing Challenges


Lin Crase, Centre for Water Policy and Management, La Trobe University, University Drive, Wodonga, VIC 3689, Australia. Email:


In this concise article, I endeavour to capture some of the core issues that circumscribe the controversial Murray–Darling Basin Plan to offer an assessment of the current strengths and weaknesses embodied in the most recent iteration. I use this article to explore the notion of “over-allocation” before honing in on the role of adaptive management, which has featured prominently in recent versions of the Plan. Although this arguably represents the strongest component of the Plan, there remain marked inconsistencies between an adaptive management approach and other elements of the water policy. This article is used to encourage a rethink of some of those measures.