The Federal government will buy another 49,000 megalitres of irrigation entitlement from willing sellers across the Murray Darling basin. The government says the water is still needed to satisfy the needs of the controversial Murray-Darling Basin Plan. That water will be bought in Queensland and NSW. The government says it will "strategically" buy the water through an open, competitive, transparent tender beginning on March 23. With a meeting of all the state's water ministers this week, the extra 49 gigalitres had been highlighted as necessary for the Bridging the Gap program, so the basin plan meets its environmental goals. It is believed this week's meeting will be asked to consider extending the 2024 deadline for all the basin plan's water buybacks. The basin plan is poised to fall up to 315 gigalitres short of its water recovery target. While emphasising the water buybacks will be voluntary, Bridging the Gap is the largest pool of water to be recovered under the basin plan - a total of 2075 gigalitres. Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said the latest buyback would meet the Federal government's commitment to complete the plan. She said 49.2 gigalitres, comprised of 46 gigalitres of surface water and 3.2 gigalitres of groundwater, would be recovered across seven targeted catchments in the Basin. "All these catchments have remaining water to be recovered to achieve the Basin Plan's Sustainable Diversion Limits," she said. MORE READING: Governments want to finalise the basin plan. Those catchments are: Queensland - Condamine-Balonne catchment (14.0 gigalitres of surface water and 3.2 gigalitres of groundwater). NSW - NSW Murray catchment (10 gigalitres of surface water), Namoi catchment (9.5 gigalitres of surface water), NSW Border Rivers catchment (5.1 gigalitres of surface water), Barwon-Darling catchment (1.6 gigalitres of surface water) and Lachlan catchment (0.9 gigalitres of surface water). The government will work with the ACT government "to identify, plan and deliver cost-effective efficiency projects to bridge the remaining gap of 4.9 gigalitres of surface water in this catchment". Water licence holders who are interested in selling their water entitlements to the government are encouraged to consult with their legal and financial advisors to start gathering relevant information to support a tender application. Only offers from the targeted catchments can be considered.