Commonwealth Environmental Water Office banner

Environmental water delivery: Murrumbidgee Valley

Commonwealth Environmental Water, 2012

Environmental water delivery: Murrumbidgee Valley collates current knowledge of the operational and administrative arrangements for the delivery of environmental water to the Murrumbidgee Valley and provides an overview of the environmental assets and potential environmental water use options for the catchment. 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:


Increased volumes of environmental water are now becoming available in the Murray-Darling Basin and this will allow a larger and broader program of environmental watering. It is particularly important that managers of environmental water seek regular input and suggestions from the community as to how we can achieve the best possible approach. As part of the consultation process for Commonwealth environmental water we are seeking information on:

  • community views on environmental assets and the health of these assets
  • views on the prioritisation of environmental water use
  • potential partnership arrangements for the management of environmental water
  • possible arrangements for the monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) of environmental water use.

This document has been prepared to provide information on the environmental assets and potential environmental water use within the Murrumbidgee Valley. As the first version of the document, it is intended to provide a starting point for discussions on environmental water use. As such, suggestions and feedback on the document are encouraged and will be used to inform planning for environmental water use and future iterations of the document.

The Murrumbidgee Valley supports important ecological values including internationally significant wetlands. Potential water use options for the system include piggybacking on natural flows to inundate low-lying Mid-Murrumbidgee River wetlands and support wetland vegetation; inundating sections of the Lowbidgee to support river red gum forest and woodland and lignum creeks and swamps; inundating areas of the Lowbidgee and providing habitat maintenance flows to Yanga National Park to support diversity and abundance of wetland fauna; and augmenting natural flows to enhance connectivity along and across components of the Murrumbidgee River.

A key aim in undertaking this work was to prepare scalable end-of-system water use strategies that maximise the efficiency of water use and anticipate different climatic circumstances. Operational opportunities and constraints have been identified and delivery options prepared. This has been done in a manner that will assist the community and environmental water managers in considering the issues and developing multi-year water use plans.

The work has been undertaken by consultants on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Previously prepared work has been drawn upon and discussions have occurred with organisations such as the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, New South Wales Office of Water, NSW Department of Primary Industries, State Water Corporation, Coleambally Irrigation Corporation, Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

Management of environmental water will be an adaptive process. There will always be areas of potential improvement. Comments and suggestions including on possible partnership arrangements are very welcome and can be provided directly to: Further information about Commonwealth environmental water can be found at Commonwealth Environmental Water website.