Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Outcomes Report – Overall Context
The primary objective of Commonwealth environmental water use is to protect and restore the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin. This means improving the conditions of the whole ecosystem including its connected elements. A healthier Basin will be more sustainable for the communities and industries that rely upon it.
The 2010-11 Commonwealth Environmental Water Outcomes Report provides information on early results from water use including the impacts on particular plant and animal species. These results are important not just because of the species themselves but because these are indicators of wider river and wetland health and associated benefits.
For example, increased numbers of native fish indicate improved water quality and recovering native vegetation along rivers will improve bank stability and reduce soil erosion.
Commonwealth Environmental Water has supported important scientific monitoring on the responses to environmental flows. For example, biofilms such as algae and microorganisms were monitored in parts of the Murrumbidgee as these organisms are often the first to respond and recover from stress caused by low flows. Improved knowledge about the immediate responses to environmental water use can inform future actions.
To take advantage of local knowledge and expertise, the Commonwealth has partnered with community groups, catchment management authorities and state agencies to implement the watering programs. Such partnerships are critical to ensure that local knowledge and expertise are included in the assessment of options.