The Living Murray Initiative
Port of Echuca, Victoria
Photo John Baker
The Living Murray Initiative was established to help improve the health of the River Murray.
In 2004, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council committed $500 million ($200 million from the Australian Government) over five years to recover an annual average of up to 500 gigalitres of water for the environment. The Australian Government reiterated its commitment to the Living Murray Initiative through Water for the Future. The water recovered through the Living Murray Initiative will be used to improve the health of six icon sites:
- Barmah-Millewa Forest
- Gunbower and Koondrook-Perricoota Forests
- Hattah Lakes
- Chowilla Floodplain (including Lindsay-Wallpolla)
- Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth
- River Murray channel
At the same time, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council committed a complementary investment of $150 million under the Living Murray Environmental Works and Measures Program. This Program facilitates effective application of recovered water through the design and construction of site-specific infrastructure and other measures.
In the 2006-07 Federal Budget, the Australian Government committed a further $500 million to bolster the capacity of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission to accelerate the implementation of the Living Murray and other initiatives, and to complete essential works across the Murray-Darling Basin that have been identified as necessary to ensure the river system is operating at optimal efficiency.