The Murray-Darling Basin’s rivers, floodplains and wetlands are vital for sustaining healthy communities and economies.
Rivers and wetlands have been changed to provide water for towns, industry and food production. This has seen the health of our rivers and wetlands decline.
In response, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder now looks after approximately 15% of the managed water resource (outside of flood times) to achieve outcomes for the environment.
The Australian Government’s investment in water for the environment is a world first and is critical to ensuring our rivers are able to support future generations.
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) delivers water for the environment to the Basin’s rivers and wetlands when and where plants and animals need it most. The water helps connect rivers, allows native fish breeding and migration, supports waterbirds and improves the production and quality of our rivers.
Over the last five years, Commonwealth Environmental Water has:
- Inundated 25 856 km of rivers, 28 291 ha of lakes, 158 487 ha of wetlands and 26 547 ha of floodplain;
- Helped maintain 11 of 16 internationally significant Ramsar sites in the Basin;
- Supported over 1 million waterbirds and helped maintain over 10 per cent of Australasian bittern populations;
- Promoted diversity of vegetation across the Basin; &
- Helped increase in-stream productivity (fish food) and supported spawning of native fish like golden perch and Murray cod.
To help build a picture of the effectiveness of water for the environment and to inform water deliveries, the CEWO has invested around $80M into monitoring, research and evaluation projects.
This presentation will share some of the recent results from five years of long-term monitoring of hydrology, vegetation, fish, ecosystem diversity, biodiversity, stream metabolism and water quality across the Basin.
This is the critical evidence we need to understand how water for the environment is helping maintain, protect, and restore ecosystems and biodiversity across the Basin.