Discover the Basin

The catchments of the Basin

Discover more about the Basin in your region by exploring our detailed catchment profiles.

Fishing on the Darling River. Photo by Irene Dowdy.

Background

The Murray–Darling Basin is an immense region of south-eastern Australia, through which thousands of interconnected creeks and rivers run. Beneath the land surface is an equally intrinsic system of aquifers and groundwater. Most of the waterways of the Basin, in one way or another, eventually connect to the River Murray. However, the volume of water that flows into the Murray from its tributaries, and out to the Southern Ocean, is highly variable.

The Basin is home to more than 2 million people, who make up a culturally rich community of Aboriginal people, descendants of convicts and European settlers, and recent migrants from all over the world. The people of the Basin live on the land, in villages, in towns and in regional cities, and their livelihoods are supported by primary, secondary and tertiary industries.

In the 21st century, the Murray–Darling Basin is regarded as a working basin. In addition to sustaining rivers and floodplains, the water of the Basin is essential for households and communities, in and outside the Basin; it is culturally significant to Aboriginal people; and it is economically important for agricultural, food processing and manufacturing industries, and for tourism.

The great challenge for all residents and governments of the Basin is to share the water so that the wellbeing and prosperity of residents is maintained, while at the same time respecting traditional cultures and protecting or restoring the natural environment.

Latest news

In western NSW near Lightning Ridge, landholder Rory Treweeke has become one of the first to use a weather station from the MDBA to keep track of river flows and local weather.

Wetlands play a crucial role in supporting the overall health of the Basin.

The Senator JS Collings Trophy is awarded annually to the most effectively maintained asset in the River Murray system.