The Millennium drought highlighted that too much water had been taken from the Murray-Darling Basin for too long. There was not enough water available to keep the ecosystem healthy and resilient to droughts.
As a result, the independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority was formed and made responsible for developing a plan to ensure the entire Murray-Darling river system is managed sustainably into the future.
A successful Basin Plan will ensure that the environmental needs of the basin’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains are protected, while sustaining food production and communities throughout the basin.
South Australia strived hard to ensure a basin plan that would deliver a healthy River Murray for both productive and environmental use. We are working together with other basin states, the Australian Government and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to implement the plan.
Rivers die from the mouth up, and impacts of the drought brought the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region to the brink of collapse.
A long-term plan to secure a healthy, sustainable future for the internationally significant Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth wetlands was developed and complements the Basin Plan. It aims to build resilience into the environment so that it can recover to a healthy ecosystem that is better able to cope in future dry times.
Traditional Owners, communities and industries across the region all provided input into the plan to ensure the latest science and local knowledge was incorporated. They have also played an important role in delivering the plan.
This video highlights the valuable planting work carried out by community groups and volunteers to tackle acid sulfate soils and help the environment recover from drought.
Community planting in the Coorong Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region
A range of environmental projects have also helped the river’s wetlands and floodplains, Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth to recover from drought and build resilience into the river system.
Projects are also underway to support the irrigation industry to improve their water efficiency and diversify their businesses into more water efficient areas.
River communities rely on a healthy river to prosper, and they experienced the devastating impacts of the drought. There are a range of services and programs available to provide drought support.
Although much work has already been done and there are many signs of recovery following the end of the drought, there is still much more work to be done to secure a healthy, working river for future generations.
Find out more about drought, drought assistance and farm support:
- Drought Statement: Bureau of Meteorology
- Dry times management: Natural Resources South East
- Response to Drought in South Australia: A Case Study in Adaptive Management
- Landcare in Focus, 2016 Annual Special Publication, Building Drought Resilience
- Real timeweather station information: Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin region
- Real time weather station information: Natural Resources South East region
- Support services for South East rural communities
- South Australian Government drought support programs
- Australian Government drought and rural assistance
- Australian Government Farm Household Allowance