Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Senator Simon Birmingham, and South Australian Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter, officially launched a regulator at South Australia’s Lake Merreti, which is part of the Riverland site – a wetland of International importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The regulator and other surface water infrastructure is part of the Australian Government’s $89 million contribution to the Riverine Recovery Project in South Australia, for the benefit of wetlands, floodplains and weir pools along the River Murray, stretching from the border all the way to Wellington in South Australia.
“This project aims to improve species biodiversity and ecosystem resilience across a number of sites like Lake Merreti,” Senator Birmingham said.
“This new, more efficient surface water infrastructure at Lake Merreti will allow for a more natural drying and wetting regimes. So far, the resulting water savings have contributed over 5.2 GL of water for other wetlands within the River Murray.
“The Riverland provides habitat that can support many animals and plants including around 20,000 waterbirds, from 59 species. Naturally, it is also a location renowned for tourism, recreation and educational activities including bird watching, fishing and boating activities. I am very proud that the Commonwealth and States have come together to help protect and restore it for future generations.”
Minister Hunter said the regulator would result in immediate benefits to South Australia and much needed support for the iconic river red gums and other habitat.
“This project will allow for a more optimal and natural watering regime for the wetlands, helping to build their resilience to survive future dry periods,” Minister Hunter said.
“The water that will start flowing into Lake Merreti and Lake Woolpool today is water that has been allocated to South Australia for environmental purposes.
“Significantly these lakes also have the highest water savings of any publicly managed River Murray wetlands in South Australia and will contribute a total of 2.2 GL of water savings for the state.
“These infrastructure projects provide a great example of how Murray-Darling Basin Governments are working together to achieve a healthier and more productive River Murray system that will sustain ecological assets, river communities and agricultural industries into the future.”