Coala Project > Northern MDB

Northern MDB

Demonstration at District scale
Where Northern Murray Darling Basin.
Start date september 2020
End date september 2022
Extension ha
Main crops cotton, pasture and cereals (excluding rice).
Stackeholders Rubicon as Business Users, Water Authorities
Services 2- EO services for water management at District Scale

The northern Murray–Darling Basin has a number of water systems with active markets. The region primarily comprises a range of inland systems along tributaries of the Darling River. For this report the Lachlan River, an intermittent tributary of the Murrumbidgee, has also been included. Water systems referred to in the report are: Barwon–Darling, Lachlan, Macquarie–Castlereagh, Gwydir, Namoi, Border Rivers (New South Wales and Queensland), Moonie, Condamine–Balonne and Warrego–Paroo–Bulloo–Nebine.

In contrast to the southern MDB, connectivity between individual water systems in the northern MDB is limited, resulting in variation in market prices and trading activity between systems. More variable water supply and a large number of unregulated rivers has limited the significant development of water markets in the northern MDB (MDBA 2015).

The majority (47 per cent) of northern MDB water supply is regulated surface water.

In this area there is Australian Major dams, Burrendong, Wyangala, Copeton, Keepit and Splitrock inclusive.

In 2014–15, crops involved in this area made up 65 per cent for cotton, 14 per cent for pasture and 9 per cent for cereals, of total water use.

Water resources are managed separately by each state, in consultation with the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

Pilot Demonstration Case

The pilot case aims to demonstrate the capability of EO services of COALA to mapping crop types, detect irrigated Areas and estimate crop water requirements


Northern Murray–Darling Basin – Department of Agricolture, Water and Environment

Water system profile
Water markets outside the southern MDB are highly fragmented as a result of the large range of water products available and the isolated, hydrologically disconnected nature of each water system. Although the majority of water products in the northern MDB can be traded, only a few systems contain markets with significant activity in any one year. Greater detail is presented for select water systems for which sufficient data are available.
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