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Project coorong v2
Topics > Project Coorong > Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin

Coorong Infrastructure Investigations Project

Project objective

The objective of the Coorong Infrastructure Investigations Project is to investigate the feasibility of multiple long-term operational infrastructure options to improve the ecological health of the Coorong.

The problem

The hydrology of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth system has been dramatically altered over time.

Maintaining the long-term ecological health and resilience of the Coorong may not be achievable through improved knowledge and water resource optimisation alone.

Operators have very few tools to manage flows efficiently and effectively within the Coorong and in particular the Coorong South Lagoon.

Additional management options may be required, particularly in the face of climate change.

What we are doing

The Coorong infrastructure investigations process is illustrated in the timeline below, and includes:

  1. Identifying and shortlisting options (May to September 2020)
  2. Investigating the feasibility of the options (November 2020 to December 2021)
  3. Putting together a business case for the consulted option (January 2022 to June 2022)
  4. Further investigations, approvals and implementation of the recommended option (2022 onwards)

DEW is committed to involving the community in every step of the process and will be consulting with the community throughout the project.

Coorong Infrastructure Investigations Project

What have we learnt so far?

Option Identification and Shortlisting

Throughout 2020, we consulted the community on which long-term management options for the Coorong should be subject to further investigation. The process included opportunities for the community to shape assessment criteria, the release of a number of guiding documents, a series of online information webinars, a YourSAy survey and a community consensus workshop.

The community consultation determined that the most important, essential outcome for the project is finding:

'The option/s that best contribute to improving the ecology of the South Lagoon as determined by scientific evidence, given water availability and constraints.'

In December 2020, following analysis of all the feedback gathered, 5 infrastructure options were shortlisted to go on to feasibility assessment.

  • A connection between the Coorong South Lagoon and Southern Ocean
  • Targeted dredging of Coorong flow constrictions to improve connectivity
  • Lake Albert to Coorong Connector
  • Further augmentation of South East Flows to the Coorong
  • Additional automated barrage gates

Feasibility Investigations

Throughout 2021, the department has objectively assessed the technical feasibility and the environmental, social and cultural benefits and impacts of these long-term management solutions to improve flows to the Coorong.

These investigations have been guided by the desired state of the Southern Coorong – discussion paper and emerging findings from the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin (HCHB) Scientific Trials and Investigations Project. The discussion paper provides an up-to-date, shared understanding of the current state of the Southern Coorong, explains what might happen if we ‘do-nothing’, presents an overview of the ‘desired state’, and provides guiding principles on how to achieve the desired state.

Through February and early March 2022, the Department for Environment and Water asked the community to have their say on the Draft Feasibility Assessment Report.

A consultation report will be made available on this website in the near future.

Where to from here?

Community feedback will be used to help inform the final Coorong Infrastructure Investigations Feasibility Assessment Report.

The final Feasibility Assessment Report, with preferred options and recommendations, will inform which option/s proceed to Business Case development, further investigation and potential construction under HCHB Phase 2.

It is envisaged that Phase 2 of Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin will implement those long-term management options deemed feasible, from 2022 onwards.

How can you get involved?

Sign up to receive Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin updates and opportunities, including citizen science activities and community consultations, or contact project.coorong@sa.gov.au.

Additional resources

View past updates, engagement documents and reports.

All Coorong Infrastructure Investigations Project reports and consultation products are available on our Publications page.

Read more about our related priorities

Murray darling basin
Basin Plan
Water security
River murray irrigators
Water allocation