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Environmental watering in the mid-Murray River system (refuge habitat and replenishment flows)

Junction of the Murray and the Murrumbidgee Rivers. Photo: Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre, 28 March 2012.

Commonwealth environmental water was made available for use in the mid-Murray River system during autumn 2012 as releases from Hume Dam to target flows of approximately 7.5 GL per day.

The March 2012 floods in the Murrumbidgee catchment resulted in a hypoxic blackwater event (water contained low levels of dissolved oxygen) in the lower Murrumbidgee River. From mid-March through to May, hypoxic blackwater was flowing from the Murrumbidgee into the Murray River, and there were concerns that it may severely impact fish and other aquatic animals.

The objective of this watering action was to provide and maintain refuge habitat in the Murray River for native fish and other aquatic animals, such as Murray cod and Murray crayfish. Releasing environmental water to increase flows down the Murray River, increased the refuge habitat available below the junction with the Murrumbidgee River.

This action complemented pre-releases made by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority from Hume Dam, and Commonwealth environmental watering actions that were undertaken simultaneously in the wider Murray River catchment. An integrated approach was taken to mitigate the negative impacts of hypoxic blackwater from the Murrumbidgee River; Commonwealth environmental water was also delivered in the:

The benefits of this watering action were monitored by the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre. For further information please refer to:

This watering action was managed by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (River Murray Operations) in cooperation with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, New South Wales Office of Water, State Water Corporation, Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Goulburn-Murray Water.