Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pledged $1.77 billion over ten years from 2014, aimed at adding an additional 450GL of environmental water to the Murray Darling Basin.
Modelling released by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority earlier this month showed that through a combination of relaxing capacity constraints and providing an additional 450GL of water above the 2750GL described in the plan, environmental outcomes for the basin can be improved.
The additional environmental water should benefit major wetlands across the Basin and the lower lakes in South Australia and help ensure the system never again goes into a period of drought lacking the resilience it needs to survive.
The funding covers on-farm efficiency works that generate water savings for the environment and other projects as agreed by states.
Of the extra funding, $200 million will be used to remove constraints such as low lying bridges and undersized dam outlets that currently limit both the volume of water that can flow through river systems and the environmental uses to which it can be put.
Legislation to establish the special account and advance appropriation is expected to be introduced into Parliament before the end of the year.
The Opposition has questioned where the funding will come from.