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South East Drainage Network

A combination of drains and floodways, physical infrastructure like weirs and surface water crossovers, fauna crossings, and proactive protection of natural habitats is delivering regional economic prosperity without compromising the environment.

A strategy to manage the drainage network

The Drainage Network Management Strategy outlines the core policy principles for the management of the Upper South East Drainage Network (USE Network). The principles help us to:

  • meet the needs of key environmental features and habitats of biodiversity significance, such as wetlands linked to the USE Network
  • address agricultural issues relating mainly to flood mitigation, groundwater and salinity management.

This is in the context of:

  • managing water resources that are or may be manipulated by the USE Network, for purposes including environmental flows, flood mitigation and groundwater/salinity management
  • supporting both environmental and agricultural production values that are affected by the manipulation of water resources within the USE Network
  • managing discharges from the USE Network, including those to the south lagoon of the Coorong
  • further developing and managing infrastructure within and/or relating to the functions of the USE Network.

The strategy provides a high-level policy document to guide the future management of the USE Network. It is not an operational business plan but is supported by an implementation plan.

Download our fact sheet on the long-term management of the South East drains and wetlands.

Hard copies of the strategy are available from:
David Williamson
Phone: (08) 8730 3555


Management of the entire South East drainage system is now covered by the South Eastern Water Conservation and Drainage Act 1992 (SEWCD Act). Previously the South Australian Goverment proclaimed the USE Dryland Salinity and Flood Management Act 2002 (USE Act) in December 2002 to facilitate and support the delivery of the USE Dryland Salinity and Flood Management program (USE program).

The USE Act expired on 19 December 2012 and arrangements were put in place to ensure a smooth transition for the day-to-day operations and management of the drainage system and infrastructure.

South Eastern Water Conservation and Drainage Board

The SEWCD Board has a long history of local and regional management of flooding, surface water and drainage in the South East.

Under the SEWCD Act, the board has the following functions and obligations:

  • To provide an effective and efficient system for managing the surface water of the non-urban lands in the South East, by conserving, draining, altering the flow of or utilising that water in any manner
  • To carry out works for the purpose of lowering the level of the water table of lands in the South East
  • To undertake, assist or promote research in the fields of water conservation, drainage and management
  • To give advice and assistance to others in the fields of water conservation, drainage and management
  • The enhancement or development of natural wetlands and the natural environment generally in the South East.

SEWCD Board Postal Address:
PO Box 531
Millicent SA 5280
Phone: (08) 8730 3555
Fax: (08) 8733 4796

Water from the South East is important to the restoration of the Lower Lakes and Coorong. See the Murray Futures South East Flows Restoration project for more.