Commonwealth works with Nature Foundation South Australia to deliver water

Joint media release
24 October 2012

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder has signed an agreement with Nature Foundation South Australia to make up to 50 gigalitres of environmental water available for the lower Murray River wetlands and floodplains over the next five years.

Nature Foundation South Australia is the first non government organisation to enter into an agreement to manage the use of Commonwealth environmental water locally.

Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder Mr David Parker said the agreement with Nature Foundation South Australia demonstrated the important role communities play in working with governments to secure the health of the Murray–Darling Basin river system.

"Smart and innovative approaches to using and managing environmental water is important to achieving Basin reform,” Mr Parker said.

“Fifty gigalitres of water over five years will help sustain the river and environments that lie between the larger iconic wetlands and floodplains, contributing to the health of the Murray-Darling river system as a whole,” he said.

Nature Foundation South Australia CEO Mr Andrew Reilly said the organisation had a proud 30 year history of conservation achievements and is now working in partnership with private landholders, irrigators, the community, private sector and governments to achieve environmental benefits for the Murray River and the land surrounding it.

“We will be working together to deliver environmental water to smaller local wetland and floodplain sites to improve habitat and provide refuges for endangered and threatened native bird and fish species such as the Regent Parrot and the Murray Hardyhead,” Mr Reilly said.

Commonwealth environmental water is managed by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to protect and restore rivers, wetlands and other environmental assets in the Murray-Darling Basin. Over 1300 gigalitres of water will be available this year to benefit the many rivers in the Basin.

Mr Parker added that every drop of Commonwealth environmental water is delivered in consultation with state governments and local community groups, including catchment management authorities and landholders.

“We are committed to providing opportunities for local communities to bring forward suggestions for use of environmental water and we encourage them to give us feedback or advice.” Mr Parker said.

In South Australia, Commonwealth environmental water will be made available to increase flows in the Murray River system, including up to 480 gigalitres to provide fish habitat in the river and water for low lying wetlands. The Coorong and Lower Lakes will also receive additional flows to help manage water quality. Options for the use of Commonwealth environmental water are available from www.environment.gov.au/ewater/publications