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Environmental watering in the Lower Murray River (South Australia) 2011-12

During 2011-12, a total of 329 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to the lower Murray River in South Australia contributing to enhanced river flows and additional inflows to the Lower Lakes and Coorong. This volume includes water that was delivered from the Goulburn River and lower Broken Creek to achieve multiple benefits across the southern connected basin.

Environmental water was delivered between January and February to manage the recession from high natural flows during late December/early January and ensure that river levels decreased gradually. This enabled a more natural flow pattern and aimed to support the environment by enhancing spawning opportunities for large-bodied native fish, such as golden perch (Macquaria ambigua). The watering action ceased on 3 February 2012 due to high natural river flows.

From February to June additional environmental water was delivered as part of Entitlement Flow. This enabled additional barrage releases for inflows into the Coorong. This action supported the flushing of salt and nutrients from the Murray-Darling river system and helped to manage salinity levels in the Lower Lakes and Coorong.

Throughout 2011-12 environmental water released to meet objectives in upstream catchments also helped to sustain flows in the lower Murray River and provided additional inflows to the Lower Lakes and the Coorong. This included actions in the Murrumbidgee River and mid-Murray region.

The South Australian Research and Development Institute have been monitoring the outcomes from Commonwealth environmental watering in South Australia and the results will be published on our website.