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Sustainable Rivers Audit

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About the SRA

The Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) is the most comprehensive assessment of river health undertaken for the Murray–Darling Basin. It is an initiative of Basin governments coordinated on their behalf by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority. The Audit is overseen and reported by an independent group of river ecologists: the Independent Sustainable Rivers Audit Group (ISRAG). The SRA provides scientifically robust assessments of the ecological health of the Basin's 23 river valleys, based on assessment of observations of fish, macroinvertebrates, vegetation, physical form and hydrology.

The SRA provides scientifically robust assessments of the ecological health of the Basin's 23 river valleys, based on assessment of observations of environmental themes. In the case of the first audit (SRA report 1, published 2008) these were: fish, macroinvertebrates and hydrology.

The data collected by the SRA is a critical description of Basin health which influences a range of other programs of the MDBA. For example, SRA indicators are being used to evaluate the ecosystem stress for different hydrology scenarios at the valley and valley-zone scale; and provide important baseline data on the ecological condition of the Basin. As well, the data and experience from the SRA are informing the development of the Basin Plan's monitoring and evaluation framework.

SRA 2 is based on data collected from 2008 to 2010. It represents a significant advance and includes not only those three assessment themes, but additionally reports on physical form and vegetation. There has also been refinement of components within themes and improved data sources and analyses.


This period in which SRA 2 data was collected included the severe millennium drought, and the results should be interpreted in the context of the prevailing climate conditions. Because of changes in sampling and analysis methodology, SRA 2 results should not be directly compared with those of SRA 1.

More information on how SRA 2 results should be interpreted

Download the factsheet 'SRA2: Interpreting the results'[11 MB]

More data is being collected on fish and macroinvertebrates during the wetter phase of the Basin (2011–2013) for future analysis and reporting; this should provide a wider baseline condition range which will help us understand the natural variability of this large and complex ecosystem.


'Report cards' on the health of individual valleys, overall assessments and key findings can be accessed from the link in the navigation of this page.

Other publications

For more detailed information on the SRA 2 results, the following documents are available for download:

  • Sustainable Rivers Audit 2: the ecological health of rivers in the Murray–Darling Basin at the end of the Millennium Drought (2008–2010). This detailed report was prepared by the Independent Sustainable Rivers Audit Group (ISRAG), which comprised Dr Peter Davies (Chairman), Dr Michael Stewardson, Dr Terry Hillman, Dr Jane Roberts and Dr Martin Thoms. It consists of three volumes:
    • Technical report (volume 1) – which details the Audit framework, the assessment themes, SRA operations, and ISRAG's assessment of the Basin's condition (by theme) and a temporal pattern assessment for fish and macroinvertebrates (using data from 2004–2010) and hydrology (flow data from 1998–2009).
      Download Technical report (volume 1) [37MB]
    • Valleys (volume 2) – thorough assessment findings for Basin valleys (A–L)
      Download Valleys (volume 2) [63MB]
    • Valleys (volume 3) – thorough assessment findings for Basin valleys (M–Z)
      Download Valleys (volume 3) [60MB]
  • SRA 2 Summary, prepared by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority's SRA team. This summary of ISRAG's technical report includes valley 'report cards' and key findings.
    Download SRA 2 Summary [34MB]


These documents are available at present as downloadable pdfs, and high-level summaries in html (see navigation pane). If any content is not accessible to you, please contact us and we will provide the information in an alternative format.

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