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Environmental watering in the Murray River Valley 2012-13

Status

June 2013: This action has been completed.

Up to 300 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water was made available to create more natural river flow patterns in the Murray River valley, and deliver significant volumes of water to the lower Murray River, during spring and summer 2012-13.

The Murray River, South Australia. © SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources - used with permission

The use of environmental water in the Murray River valley built on the outcomes of previous years' environmental water delivery and high natural flow events, and sought to:

  • maintain and improve the health of riparian and wetland native vegetation
  • encourage breeding and support the survival of native fish such as Murray cod, silver perch, golden perch and freshwater catfish
  • connect habitats along the river and between the river channel and fringing wetlands
  • transport and disperse materials such as sediment, nutrients and organic matter
  • provide additional inflows to the Lower Lakes to improve water quality and enable barrage releases to the Coorong. Additional inflows to the Coorong will help manage salinity and seasonal water levels for native water plants such as Ruppia tuberosa.

This watering event was part of a series of coordinated environmental watering actions across the Southern Connected Basin. Water from other environmental water holders as well as other Commonwealth environmental watering actions, such as spring releases in the Murrumbidgee and Goulburn rivers, together supported environmental outcomes at multiple sites across the river system.

Commonwealth environmental watering in the Murray River valley was actively managed to take account of river conditions and rainfall, in cooperation with the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Murray-Darling Basin Authority and Catchment Management Authorities.

The South Australian Research and Development Institute monitored the outcomes of this watering action in the lower Murray River valley.