|Security||Registered entitlements (ML)||Long Term Average Annual Yield (ML)|
|Security||Registered entitlements (ML)||Long Term Average Annual Yield (ML)|
*Water allocations in southern-connected Basin catchments can, with some restrictions, be traded to other catchments in the southern-connected Basin. This gives the Commonwealth the capacity to move water between catchments of the southern-connected Basin to get the best outcomes for the environment.
Commonwealth environmental water in the Murrumbidgee River catchment
Water availability and portfolio management
Portfolio management statements for the Murrumbidgee catchment provide information on the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office's approach to the management of Commonwealth environmental water holdings in the catchment. The portfolio management statement identifies the type and amount of entitlements held, the forecast of water available and the proposed approach to trading, carryover and use of the water.
Options for Commonwealth environmental water use
Annual water use options 2012-13: Murrumbidgee catchment identifies potential Commonwealth environmental watering actions for 2012-13.
Annual water use options 2012-13: Murrumbidgee catchment - Fact sheet summarises the approach and some of the options for using Commonwealth environmental water, as well as identifies how anyone may provide suggestions for use of environmental water.
Environmental water delivery
Environmental Water Delivery: Murrumbidgee Valley collates current knowledge of the operational and administrative arrangements for the delivery of environmental water to the Murrumbidgee Valley. The document provides an overview of the environmental assets and potential environmental water use options. This work has been undertaken to support the efficient and effective use of environmental water and to engage communities on how this may best be achieved. This aims to encourage community discussion and feedback on the use of environmental water, to identify future opportunities and recognise operational risks and constraints. Comments on the document are encouraged and can be provided to: email@example.com
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2012-13
- Hobblers Lake, Cherax Swamp and associated wetlands (western edge of Lower Murrumbidgee Floodplain)
- Murrumbidgee River fish recruitment flow
Environmental watering in the catchment in previous years
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2011-12
In 2011-12, a total of 83 GL of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to the Murrumbidgee catchment including inundation of wetlands in North Redbank on the Lower Murrumbidgee Floodplain and river flows in the lower Murrumbidgee River.
Environmental watering in 2010-11
The 2010-11 water year provided a number of opportunities to use significant volumes of water in large-scale environmental watering events. A total of 193 GL of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to sites within the Murrumbidgee catchment and provided as river flows through the catchment during the year. This included the use of more than 100 GL of Commonwealth environmental water to fill hundreds of wetlands along the Murrumbidgee River, and benefit the Murray system as far downstream as South Australia's Lower Lakes and Coorong.
- Large scale environmental water release for Murrumbidgee wetlands - media release 10 June 2011
- Video and interview relating to this environmental water release, including time lapse images from a camera installed at Sunshower Lagoon near Darlington Point in the Murrumbidgee catchment.
For further information about Commonwealth environmental watering in the Murrumbidgee and the outcomes achieved, please refer to the Commonwealth environmental water Outcomes Reports and Annual Reports.
Monitoring ecological responses to environmental flows
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office engaged Charles Sturt University to monitor the ecological response to the environmental water release that took place in the Murrumbidgee River in June 2011. The final report detailing the outcomes of the watering action is now available:
- Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system - Report 2 - May 2012
- Podcast: Monitoring of environmental watering in Murrumbidgee
Following heavy rainfall in the upper and mid Murrumbidgee catchment in March 2012, a large natural flood event occurred, filling many of the wetlands where environmental water was provided in 2011. The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office engaged Charles Sturt University to monitor these wetlands in April 2012 to identify any further outcomes from environmental watering undertaken in 2011 and to better understand the response to a major flooding event.
Where is it?
The Murrumbidgee River and its major tributary, the Tumut River, originate in the Snowy Mountains. The Murrumbidgee catchment region has one of the most diverse climates in NSW, ranging from the alpine areas of Kosciusko National Park and the Monaro Plains, through to the grazing and grain belts of the southwest slopes and plains and the shrublands and grasslands of the semi-arid western Riverina.
The Murrumbidgee catchment covers 87,795 km2. Tributaries along the Murrumbidgee River include the Queanbeyan, Yass and Cotter Rivers in the upper reaches, and Tarcutta and Mirrool Creeks downstream of the Tumut junction. Westward from this junction, the river enters a broad floodplain and eventually joins the Murray River downstream of Balranald.
In the past, very large floods in the Lachlan River caused flows to enter the lower Murrumbidgee via the Great Cumbung Swamp.
What makes this place so special?
The Murrumbidgee catchment is an ecologically significant area because it includes:
- a diverse range of flora and fauna species, including river red gum forests and woodlands, black box and lignum
- species listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), such as the vulnerable southern bell frog
- wetlands of international significance listed under the Ramsar Convention
- colonial bird breeding sites
Two large-scale environmental assets in the Murrumbidgee include the Lower Murrumbidgee River Floodplain and the Mid-Murrumbidgee-River Wetlands.
The Lower Murrumbidgee River Floodplain, which is listed under the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia, is a wetland of national significance. It covers approximately 200,000 hectares and includes some of the largest lignum wetlands in NSW. It is one of the most important breeding sites in eastern Australia for the straw-necked ibis. The wetland provides critical breeding habitat for waterbirds, including the Australian white ibis, glossy ibis, royal spoonbill, and great egret.
The Mid-Murrumbidgee-River Wetlands consist of several nationally significant wetlands. They support vegetation communities including river red gum forests and woodlands and black box woodlands that provide vital habitat to threatened species including the Australasian bittern.
What does the latest science say about the ecological health of the catchment?
The Murray-Darling Basin Commission Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) rated the overall health of river ecosystems in the Murray-Darling Basin. The SRA reports the overall ecosystem health of the Murrumbidgee catchment as very poor.
The CSIRO Sustainable Yields Report on the Murrumbidgee indicated that the current level of surface water extraction in the Murrumbidgee River is extremely high, with 53 per cent of average available water being diverted for use. The report also found that due to development, the average period between inundation events that flood the Lowbidgee Floodplain has more than tripled and the maximum period between events has more than doubled. Under the best estimate 2030 climate conditions, average surface water availability would reduce by 9 per cent and diversions by 2 per cent. End-of-system flows would be reduced by 17 per cent.
Note that the boundaries of this catchment as defined by the Sustainable Rivers Audit and the Sustainable Yields report differ slightly to the boundaries used here.