Skip to main content
Go to search page

Delivering environmental water

The Australian Government has recovered  water for the environment through  improvements in irrigation infrastructure or water buybacks, The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) provides guidance on environmental watering priorities.  Environmental water holders manage their water portfolios  to improve the condition of the Basin’s environment.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, the MDBA and state environmental water holders make water available and deliver water together with river operators, managers, non-government organisations and their local delivery partners.

Environmental water on the Chowilla Floodplain.

Delivery organisations

  • the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office manages the Australian Government’s environmental water portfolio, guided by the Basin-wide environmental watering strategy and annual watering priorities
  • the MDBA on behalf of The Living Murray program
  • the Victorian Environmental Water Holder is an independent statutory body responsible for managing Victoria's environmental water entitlements, including a dedicated water account for the Barmah–Millewa Forest
  • the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH) purchases water for the benefit of targeted wetlands and river systems
  • the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources works with the MDBA and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office to manage environmental water for the benefit of South Australia, including Chowilla and the Lower Lakes, Coorong and the Murray Mouth
  • non-government organisations, including groups from cross-border alliances who provide expert advice on environmental water use (such as Murray–Darling Wetlands Working Group). The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office also has agreements with some groups (such as the Nature Foundation of South Australia Inc.) to manage small parcels of Australian Government holdings for environmental projects, often in partnership with local landowners, irrigators or community groups.

Other partners 

Coordinating environmental water delivery

Over recent years the total volume of environmental water available in the southern connected Basin has increased. To make the most of the delivery of environmental water, the Southern Connected Basin Environmental Watering Committee was established. This committee comprises Basin state and Australian Government environmental water holders, those who manage planned environmental water and key river operators.

This group coordinates the planning and delivery of environmental water in the southern connected Basin to achieve the best results for water-dependent ecosystems.

Reed Beds Swamp in Barmah–Millewa Forest after an environmental water release.