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History - Lower Murray-Darling

Environmental watering in the Lower Murray-Darling Catchment in previous years

Please note the following summaries are totals for the whole Murray Catchment, with the environmental watering that has occurred in the Lower Murray-Darling bolded.

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2013-14

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2013-14
Watering action (all actions have been completed) Amount of water delivered (ML)
Environmental watering of Hattah Lakes within the lower River Murray region in 2014 4 633
Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (within Lower River Murray region) 158 983
Lower Murray (Rilli Reach and Ramco River Terrace 2013-14 to 2015-16) 40
Lower Murray (Clark's Floodplain, Thiele's Flat and Loxton Riverfront Reserve 2013-14 to 2015-16) 71
Murray River Valley including Gunbower Creek 244 250
Edward-Wakool Rivers, Colligen, Yallakool, Tuppal, Gwynnes, Jimaringle and Cockran Creeks 16 815
Lower Murray (Murray River at the Locks 8 and 9 weir pools) 216
Lower Murray Wetlands (South Australia) 1 019
Johnsons Waterhole, Lower Murray (South Australia) 104
Mallee Wetlands 2 652
Total in 2013-14 428 783

Environmental watering of Hattah Lakes within the lower River Murray region in 2014

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

About the watering

Hattah Lakes – Arial View

Up to 50,000 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was committed for use across the 2013-14 and 2014-15 water years. A total of 4,633.1 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in Hattah Lakes during 2013-14, with additional volumes to be delivered in 2014-15. Commonwealth environmental water was used in conjunction with environmental water held by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and by the Murray Darling Basin Authority as part of the Living Murray initiative.

This watering action aimed to support improved condition and recruitment of black box vegetation within Hattah Lakes and the surrounding floodplain. Some areas of black box woodland being targeted by this watering action have not experienced inundation in over 20 years. The watering action was also expected to support improvement in the diversity and condition of frog, fish and waterbird populations through maintaining suitable aquatic habitat.

The delivery of environmental water into Hattah Lakes is managed by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority and Goulburn-Murray Water, in cooperation with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and the Murray Darling Basin Authority. As additional environmental water delivery will continue into 2014-15, the reporting of outcomes will be included in the status update in 2014-15.

Environmental watering of Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth within Lower River Murray region in 2013-14

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

The environmental condition within the Coorong and Lower Lakes has shown significant signs of recovery during 2013-14. To support this positive trend, up to 100 GL of additional Commonwealth environmental water has been made available during March to June 2014 for the overarching purpose of maintaining and improving the site's ecological health and resilience. This volume of water is being provided in addition to 433 GL of Commonwealth environmental water that is already being delivered into the lower River Murray this year.

Commonwealth environmental water will contribute to increased barrage flows between March and June 2014 to support improvements in water quality in the River Murray channel, aquatic vegetation, macroinvertebrates, waterbird and fish habitat within the Coorong and Lower lakes, and contribute to flows to support an open Murray Mouth. In particular, the delivery of additional environmental water is expected to support on-going improvement in the condition and extent of the aquatic herb known as Ruppia tuberose which provides critical habitat for fish and invertebrate species in the Coorong Southern Lagoon.

This watering action will be managed in collaboration with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources South Australia, SA Water and the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Environmental watering of Rilli Reach and Ramco River Terrace during 2013-14 to 2015-16

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is working with the Nature Foundation South Australia to achieve environmental outcomes in wetlands at Rilli Reach and Ramco River Terrace in the lower River Murray, South Australia.

Commonwealth environmental water has been made available for use by the Nature Foundation South Australia between December 2013 and June 2016 at multiple sites along the South Australian River Murray. The use of environmental water will help to contribute towards improving native vegetation condition, reducing the local impacts of salinity and supporting waterbirds and frogs that rely on the region’s wetlands for reproduction and survival. Up to 80 ML is planned for delivery to wetlands in 2013-14.

This watering action will be managed by Nature Foundation South Australia in collaboration with local landholders, Loxton Waikerie District Council, Loxton Bookpurnong Local Action Planning Group, SA Water and the South Australian Government’s Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

Environmental watering of Clark’s Floodplain, Thiele’s Flat and Loxton Riverfront Reserve during 2013-14 to 2015-16

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is working with the Nature Foundation South Australia to achieve environmental outcomes in wetlands along the River Murray in South Australia.

Up to 775 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available for use by the Nature Foundation South Australia between October 2013 and June 2016. The use of environmental water will help to contribute towards improving native vegetation condition, reducing the local impacts of salinity and supporting waterbirds and frogs that rely on the region’s wetlands for reproduction and survival. Up to 250 ML is planned for delivering to wetlands in 2013-14.

This watering action will be managed by Nature Foundation South Australia in collaboration with local landholders, Bookpurnong-Lock 4 Environmental Association, Loxton Waikerie District Council, Loxton Bookpurnong Local Action Planning Group, SA Water and the South Australian Government’s Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

Locks 8 and 9 weir pools

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

About the watering

Up to 4000 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available to manipulate the weir pools of Lock/Weir 8 and 9 in the Murray River during July and December 2013.

Weir pool manipulation will increase the variability of in-stream baseflows and freshes, and is expected to contribute to:

  • supporting ecosystem recovery by improving the diversity, condition and extent of native vegetation
  • providing habitat for native fish, waterbirds and frogs
  • supporting organic matter processing and biofilm production.

This watering action has been developed in consultation with a range of key stakeholders, including the NSW Office of Water, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. It provides a key step in developing alternative and innovative ways to use existing infrastructure to maximise environmental outcomes. This action will be important for promoting weir pool manipulation elsewhere in the Murray River system. It is hoped the use of weir pool manipulation to achieve ecological outcomes will become a routine part of weir pool operations in the future.

Johnson’s Waterhole in the lower River Murray, South Australia

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

About the watering

Up to 500 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available to provide flows to Johnson’s Waterhole between August 2013 and June 2016. This watering action will contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • increase the extent and condition of understory native plants and river red gums through improved soil quality (reduced soil salinity) and soil moisture
  • provide habitat that is suitable for supporting increased abundance and diversity of waterbirds within the Ral Ral floodplain.

This watering action will be managed by the Nature Foundation South Australia in cooperation with Renmark-Paringa Council and Renmark Irrigation Trust.

Lower River Murray Wetlands, South Australia

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

About the watering

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is working with the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board to implement watering of five wetlands along the South Australian River Murray: Weila Shedding, Carpark Lagoons, Morgan Conservation Park, Hogwash Bend and Maize Island. These watering actions will complement other natural resource management activities to support the rehabilitation of floodplain wetlands.

Up to 1,019ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available in 2013-14. These watering actions will contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • maintain and improve the condition, diversity and extent of floodplain and wetland native plants
  • improve the diversity and condition of native fish, frog and waterbird populations through maintaining suitable aquatic habitat and providing opportunities for breeding and recruitment.
  • improve ecosystem and population resilience through supporting ecological recovery and maintaining aquatic habitat.

These watering actions will be managed by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. For more information please see Pumping the wet into wet-land.

Environmental watering of Mallee Wetlands within the lower River Murray region in 2014

Status

30 June 2014: This action is complete.

About the watering

Bullock Swamp

In 2013-14 a total of 2,667 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to 10 wetlands in the Victorian Mallee: Brickworks Billabong, Bridge Creek, Bullock Swamp, Burra Creek South, Cardross Lake Basin 1, J1 Creek, Karadoc Swamp, Liparoo East, Psyche Lagoon and Woorlong Wetland.

Water from the Murray River is pumped to these sites; J1 Creek and Bullock Swamp receiving environmental water for the first time.

This first year of a three year environmental watering program to selected Mallee wetlands is part of long-term rehabilitation that aimed to:

  • support the recruitment and improved condition of vegetation, waterbirds, frogs, fish and other biota;
  • support salt and nutrient export from the River Murray system; and
  • establish multiple self-sustaining populations of Murray hardyhead within wetland refuges hydrologically interconnected and connected to the River Murray.

The delivery of environmental water into the Mallee sites is managed by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority and Goulburn-Murray Water, in cooperation with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and the Murray Darling Basin Authority. Additional environmental water delivery will continue into 2014-15 and 2015-16. As this marks the beginning of planned longer-term watering activity and monitoring, the reporting of outcomes will be included in status updates over future years.

2012-13

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2012-13
Watering action (all actions have been completed) Amount of water delivered (ML)
Note: * indicates that the action was undertaken with the use of return flows.
Clark's floodplain with Nature Foundation SA 60*
Lower Murray River (South Australia) Disher Creek – 250*
Berri Basin – 543*
Whirlpool corner – 91*
Ramco Lagoon – 1*
Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth - 98 853
Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth - 150 000
Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth - 237 118*
Murray River valley 300 000
Tuppal creek 2 000
Gunbower creek 2 158*
Jimaringle, Cockran and Gwynnes creeks 3 000
Edward-Wakool river system 28 943
Total in 2012-13 822 792

Environmental Watering with the Nature Foundation South Australia

Clark's floodplain - Commonwealth environmental water delivery. Photo: Nature Foundation SA

In October 2012 the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder entered into a long-term agreement with Nature Foundation SA for the use of up to 10 gigalitres a year of Commonwealth environmental water over the next five years to support wetland and floodplain rehabilitation projects in the lower Murray River. Nature Foundation is the first non-government organisation to enter into an agreement to manage the use of Commonwealth environmental water locally for the benefit of the Basin.

For more information see: Commonwealth works with Nature Foundation South Australia to deliver water - Media release 24 October 2012.

On 18 February 2013 the Nature Foundation SA celebrated the start of watering on Clark's Floodplain - adjacent Lock 4 near Berri, the first Commonwealth environmental watering project under Nature Foundation's Water for Nature initiative.

Up to 100 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was agreed for use on Clark's Floodplain for the purpose of supporting the improved health and recruitment of black box vegetation communities.

For more information:

South Australia Clark's floodplain – Commonwealth environmental water delivery commencement – flood runner. Photo: Nature Foundation SA

Nature Foundation SA first Commonwealth environmental watering event at Clark's Floodplain – key partners: Bob Lott (Chair Nature Foundation), David Papps (Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder), Steve Clark (land owner) and Jason Size (Chairperson Bookpurnong Lock 4 Environmental Association). Photo: Leo Davis - provided courtesy of Nature Foundation SA

Environmental watering at Whirlpool Corner, Disher Creek, Berri Basin, Lower Murray River channel, Lower Lakes, Coorong and the Murray Estuary

Murray hardyhead. Photo: Gunther Schmida © MDBA

The environmental watering at Whirlpool Corner helped support the recruitment of native plants, including river red gums, and habitat for native frogs and waterbirds such as spoonbills. Environmental watering at Berri Basin and Disher Creek contributed to the recovery of Murray hardyhead, a threatened native fish.

The environmental water also contributed to improving the health of the Lower Murray River channel by increasing the transport of nutrients and salt from the river system and mitigating potential environmental impacts of acid drainage from the Lower Murray Swamps. It also contributed to achieving water level and salinity targets in Lakes Alexandrina and Albert (Lower Lakes), achieving salinity and seasonal water level targets in the Coorong, and supporting the establishment of wetland native plants, waterbird habitat, and the recruitment of native fish and frogs.

The Commonwealth made available:

  • a further 98,853 ML in the lower Murray River, Lower Lakes and Coorong during 2012-13
  • up to 1,400 ML of environmental water to the Disher Creek and Berri Basin, and
  • up to 500 ML of environmental water for pumping into Whirlpool Corner.

The environmental water used at Whirlpool Corner, Disher Creek and Berri Basin was provided from flows returning to the river system from watering actions originally delivered in Victoria.

This watering action was made possible by the collaboration of the Department of Environmental, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia, SA Water and the South Australia Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board.

Lower Murray River, South Australia. Photo: © DEWNR SA

2011-12

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2011-12
Watering action
(all actions have been completed)
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Colligen Creek (Edward-Wakool river system) 5 500
Wakool River and Colligen Creek (Edward-Wakool river system) 7 500
Edward-Wakool river system (fish refuge habitat flows) 39 445
Jimaringle-Cockran Creek (Edward-Wakool river system) 3 000
Mid-Murray River system (fish refuge habitat and replenishment flows) 92 093
Lower Murray River (South Australia) 69 300
Lower Murray River (South Australia) 126 600
Total in 2011-12 343 438

Environmental watering in the Lower Murray River (South Australia)

During 2011-12, a total of 329 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to the lower Murray River in South Australia contributing to enhanced river flows and additional inflows to the Lower Lakes and Coorong. This volume includes water that was delivered from the Goulburn River and lower Broken Creek to achieve multiple benefits across the southern connected basin.

Environmental water was delivered between January and February to manage the recession from high natural flows during late December/early January and ensure that river levels decreased gradually. This enabled a more natural flow pattern and aimed to support the environment by enhancing spawning opportunities for large-bodied native fish, such as golden perch (Macquaria ambigua). The watering action ceased on 3 February 2012 due to high natural river flows.

From February to June additional environmental water was delivered as part of Entitlement Flow. This enabled additional barrage releases for inflows into the Coorong. This action supported the flushing of salt and nutrients from the Murray-Darling river system and helped to manage salinity levels in the Lower Lakes and Coorong.

Throughout 2011-12 environmental water released to meet objectives in upstream catchments also helped to sustain flows in the lower Murray River and provided additional inflows to the Lower Lakes and the Coorong. This included actions in the Murrumbidgee River and mid-Murray region.

The South Australian Research and Development Institute have been monitoring the outcomes from Commonwealth environmental watering in South Australia and the results will be published on our website.

2010-11

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2010-11
Watering action
(all actions have been completed)
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth 29 183
Coombool Swamp 506
Lake Walla-walla 7 850
Kulkurna 57
Jimaringle and Cockran Creeks 1 100
Wakool River and Yallakool Creek 18 667
Hattah Lakes 9 342
Katarapko Floodplain-Carpark Lagoons 154
Total in 2010-11 66 859

2009-10

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2009-10
Watering action
(all actions have been completed)
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Lake Wallawalla, near Mildura, Vic 4 140
Hattah Lakes, near Mildura, Vic 7 060
Werai State Forest, near Deniliquin, NSW 4 500
Top-up flows for nine wetlands along the lower NSW Murray (Andruco Lagoon, Boeill Floodplain, Brechin, Cliffhouse 1 and 2, Grand Junction, Kennaugh, Nampoo, Wee Wee Creek) 1 750
Millewa State Forest, near Deniliquin, NSW 1 500
Chowilla Floodplain, near Renmark, SA & NSW 7 230
Lake Albert, at the Murray Mouth, SA 20 000
Morgan Conservation Park, near Morgan, SA 320
Molo Flat, near Waikerie, SA 330
Wigley Reach, near Renmark, SA 250
Paiwalla Wetland, near Murray Bridge, SA 240
Weila, near Renmark, SA 220
Overland Corner Complex, near Kingston-on-Murray, SA 200
Katarapko Creek Wetlands, near Berri, SA 20
Total in 2009-10 47 760

2008-09

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2008-09
Watering action
(all actions have been completed
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Chowilla Floodplains (SA) (Near Renmark, SA) 1 780
Carpark Lagoons, Katarapko (SA) (Near Berri, SA) 200
Paiwalla Wetland (SA) (Between Mannum and Murray Bridge, SA) 600
Rocky Gully (SA) (Near Murray Bridge, SA) 80
Markaranka Wetland Complex (SA) (Near Waikerie, SA) 2 230
Overland Corner Floodplain (SA) (Near Kingston-on-Murray, SA) 500
Murbpook Lagoon (SA) (Near Blanchetown, SA) 1 400
Lindsay Island (VIC) (On VIC/SA Border) 1 000
Hattah Lakes (VIC) (North-Western Victoria near Robinvale) 2 120
Backwater Lagoon (NSW) (In Wangumma State Forest, west of Wentworth, NSW) 1 000
Total in 2008-09 10 910