River restoration and environmental water

Through the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, 3200 gigalitres of water flow will be secured by 2024 for the benefit of the River Murray environment, its wetlands, floodplains, flora and fauna.

Of course, as the broader South Australian community we’ll still need to use water smarter and reduce our dependence on the River Murray by tapping into a variety of other water resources. Our Water For Good Plan outlines the ways in which we’re doing this.

Restoring the river

To find out what we’re doing to improve environmental outcomes for the River Murray and its wetlands and floodplains, check out the Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin's information on restoration programs. They include: 

Or go to the SAMDB project map to find out what's happening near you.

Environmental water

Water allocated purely to the environment and not for extraction is called environmental water. It is the first crucial step towards restoring the Murray-Darling Basin’s long-term health. Higher flows mean that our restoration projects - such as those listed above - will have more positive impacts than ever.

The extra water provides many benefits, including keeping the Murray Mouth open, flushing salt from the system and providing more water to precious wetlands and floodplains, which need a varied flow regime to thrive.

The water is held by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and the South Australian Government..

River Murray Long-Term Environmental Watering Plan

The SA River Murray long-term environmental watering plan describes the pattern of water delivery needed for many years into the future to support the health of this ecosystem. It covers the main River Murray channel, its floodplain and wetlands, and the Ramsar-listed Coorong, Lakes and Murray Mouth region. The long-term plan will be used during annual planning and decision-making around the delivery of water that has been recovered for the environment.

It is intended that long-term environmental watering plans will also be developed for two other water resource plan areas in the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin as required under the Basin Plan – the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges and the South Australian Murray Region. 

River Murray Annual Environmental Watering Plans

Following extensive consultation, annual environmental watering plans are developed for the year ahead according to climate outlook and environmental conditions. At the end of each water year, reports are published showing the volumes of environmental water used, the sites and ecological outcomes. 

Annual environmental watering priorities are also developed for other water resource planning areas in the Murray-Darling Basin as required under the Basin Plan. These include: