Commonwealth Environmental Water Office banner

Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges catchment

Water availability

The Australian Government does not currently hold entitlements in the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges catchment.

Environmental watering in the catchment

To date, there has been no Commonwealth environmental watering in the Eastern Mt Lofty ranges catchments.

Catchment profile

Where is it?

The Eastern Mt Lofty catchment is located in the south-east of South Australia and covers an area of 3,611 km2. The catchment centres on the Marne, Bremer and Finniss Rivers. Flows from these rivers, as well as other tributaries in the catchment, flow into the River Murray and Lake Alexandrina.

Southern Catchments page


Ramsar site

DIWA site

Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Catchment

What makes this place so special?

The Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges catchment supports a threatened ecological community that is listed and protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act). The Fleurieu Swamps are listed as critically endangered and support a number of flora and fauna species that are also listed as threatened under the Act. Many of these species are unique to the area, including the Mount Lofty southern emu-wren, and so are dependent on the Fleurieu Swamps for habitat.

The largest remaining intact Swamp of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Glenshera Swamp, is included in the National Reserve System.

What does the latest science say about the ecological health of the catchment?

The Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA), coordinated by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, provides scientifically robust assessments of the ecological health of the Basin's river valleys. The SRA did not include an analysis of the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges. Instead, this area was included as part of the Murray Valley (Lower) analysis. The overall ecosystem health of the Eastern Mt Lofty catchment as reported by the SRA is summarised below.

SRA Report Overall ecosystem health of catchment
SRA 1 (based on data collected from 2004 to 2007) Poor
SRA 2 (based on data collected from 2008 to 2010) Poor

The CSIRO Sustainable Yields Report 2008 on the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges found that current average surface water use across the Marne, Bremer, Angas, Finniss and Tookayerta and Currency sub-catchments was approximately 9 per cent of available water. However, this was found to range from between 5 to 18 per cent depending on the level of diversion for farm dams. Under best estimate 2030 climate conditions, surface water availability would decrease by approximately 18 per cent. This means that surface water use overall would increase to 10 per cent of water available, despite farm dam diversions decreasing.