The delivery of 1,272 billion litres of Commonwealth environmental water in 2012-13 has boosted water quality, species habitats and wetland management.

“Delivering environmental outcomes in a working basin requires careful management, local knowledge and a strong strategy to keep the basin healthy”, said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

“Across the Basin water was delivered in 34 environmental watering actions. This included approximately 550 gigalitres to improve flows in the lower River Murray, the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, which has provided environmental benefits along the river environment, while also increasing flows to the Murray Mouth and exporting salt from the river system.

“Monitoring throughout the Basin has shown good evidence of increasing fish numbers due to a combination of high rainfall, backed up by good environmental flows – this is seen strongly in the Murrumbidgee where results have shown that native fish outnumbered introduced fish by more than five to one.

“The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority are working collaboratively to engage communities in the consultation process to develop options for the future use of environmental water.

“In a first for the country, the Nature Foundation of South Australia became the very first non-government organisation to deliver Commonwealth environmental water, in partnership with private landholders and local councils in and around Renmark and Berri.

“Across the Basin and in the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, Commonwealth water is helping to build the resilience of ecosystems of native plants and animals. 

“Additionally, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is investing in long-term monitoring and evaluation projects at sites across the Basin. With $30 million over the next six years, this will ensure Commonwealth environmental water is being used to its best effect based on demonstrable ecological outcomes, over time,” Senator Birmingham said.