After many years of decline in ecosystem health, the Australian and South Australian governments are taking action to change this via a range of initiatives and environmental works programs.

Announced in September 2020 as part of the Australian Government’s Murray-Darling Communities Investment Package, the $37.6 million Sustaining Riverland Environments (SRE) program implements projects focused on improving the condition of the lower River Murray channel, floodplain and wetland ecosystems, with the aim of recovering native fish populations and providing flow on benefits for SA Riverland communities. The program will help achieve a healthier River Murray system for stronger communities, better recreation and more profitable industries, while also stimulating jobs and economic growth in the Riverland region.

In November 2020, 3 ecologically important South Australian Riverland sites were identified for increased investment as part of SRE. The objectives of the 3 site projects are to:

Delivering these projects will further increase the efficiency and effectiveness of environmental water use and maximise benefits from investments via the Basin Plan and other local programs such as the South Australian Riverland Floodplains Integrated Infrastructure Program (SARFIIP) and Riverine Recovery Program (RRP).

These projects will be managed alongside existing projects, including the South Australian Constraints Measures project and annual environmental water planning.


First Nations people

The First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee Region are the Traditional Owners of the land and waters on which the Sustaining Riverland Environments (SRE) program operates. These lands and waters have sustained unique First Nations cultures since the time of creation, and we recognise, acknowledge and respect their unique relationship and deep connection to Country.

The First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee Region's spiritual, social, cultural, and economic practices come from the lands and waters, and they continue to maintain their cultural heritage, economies, languages, and lores which are of ongoing importance.

The River Murray, its wetlands, water sources and bodies are precious areas for First Nations people. They are part of their traditional territories and resources and provide the basis for the livelihoods of their families and communities. They are also fundamental elements of their cultures since the lands and waters are a living body, and they are part of its existence.

The Department for Environment and Water acknowledges the range of First Nations’ rights, interests and obligations, and the cultural connections that exist for both the ancestral and living Ngaiawang, Ngawait, Nganguruku, Erawirung, Ngintait, Ngaralte and Ngarkat people, and seeks to support their equitable engagement.

SRE works with a dedicated Aboriginal Partnerships team that guides engagement with First Nations people regarding their water needs and interests. This provides First Nations people with a safe space to share their knowledge, values and interests, which then informs how decisions are made across the program.

Community Engagement

We are committed to involving communities in SRE to ensure the program reflects their values, desires and aspirations, and sources new ideas that will help achieve a healthier River Murray system.

SRE will be managed collaboratively with relevant communities in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, and engagement will occur throughout the life of the program.

  • Bookmark Creek complex stakeholder engagement will occur throughout the program, including planning and construction of the upstream and downstream regulator and fishway structures.
  • Lock 3 reach consultation will occur at key times throughout the program, for engagement and/or community awareness purposes, and for input of key information.
  • Lock 6 reach stakeholder engagement during the program will build on initial face-to-face conversations undertaken with pump owners and operators during the pump survey process.

More information

Get involved

We are committed to working with First Nations people, local communities and the broader South Australian community throughout the life of the SRE program.

Subscribe to the River Murray SA newsletter for updates and SRE engagement opportunities.

Contact us

Department for Environment and Water (DEW) social media


SRE project pages

Weir pool manipulation

Other resources

SRE News Archive




The Sustaining Riverland Environments Program is a $37.6 million program funded by the Australian Government through the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and delivered by the Government of South Australia through the Department for Environment and Water.