Water recovery and works and measures underpin The Living Murray program. Together they enable the delivery of water to environmental sites in a way that maximises environmental benefits.
Major floodplain water management structures are under construction at:
These water management structures will enable large-scale watering of over 37,000ha of forests and wetlands across these environmental sites. Operation of these works can be adapted to a wide range of conditions and water availability, enabling efficient use of available environmental water — something that will be particularly important as the Basin receives fewer inflows because of climate change.
The sea-to-Hume fishway program is also part of the Environmental Works and Measures Program. The fishway program is re-establishing opportunities for fish migrations to over 2,000km of the River Murray by installing 16 new fishways and modifying one existing fishway.
It is the first program anywhere in the world that allows fish passage for the majority of native species in a migrating fish community rather than focusing on only one or two species of economic or socialsignificance.
Monitoring shows that millions of native fish are using the new fishways, passing as many as 10,000 per day, with high diversity (13 species) and a wide range of sizes (from 31 mm to 1,040 mm in length).
NSW State Water has been constructing fishways on barriers in the Edward–Wakool system. When complete, these fishways will complement the sea-to-Hume program and provide a comprehensive network of fish passage through this highly important river system. The Environmental Works and Measures Program is funding the Edward River offtake and Stevens Weir fishways.
How a vertical-slot fishway works
This animation explains the conceptual layout and use of a vertical-slot fishway.
We are progressing the possible construction of up to eight additional fishways at the Murray Mouth barrages as part of the Murray Futures Program. These fishways will provide enhanced connectivity between the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, allowing fish to move between the fresh and estuarine areas, which is important for the breeding cycles of a number of native fish species.
Flooding delayed completion of the sea-to-Hume program, with four fishways still under construction — Lock 2 (Waikerie), Lock 4 (Bookpurnong), Lock 11 (Mildura) and Lock 15 (Euston).
All fishways currently under construction and designs for the additional fishways at the barrages should be completed by June 2013.
The cultural heritage component of the project has reunited the local Aboriginal groups, built new relationships with the broader local community, and reconnected the local Indigenous people to country. Of particular note have been the presentations by elders of the local nations to schools and community organisations. Through the respectful management of the natural resource, the project has enabled the transfer of local cultural heritage knowledge from generation to another, as well as across cultural groups in the community.