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Published: 07 April 2009   •   Media release

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) today announced it will deliver 4.445 gigalitres (GL) of environmental water at important “icon sites” along the Murray in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

MDBA Chief Executive Mr Rob Freeman said the watering, part of the MDBA’s Living Murray program, would start to flow from mid-April to maximise the benefits of autumn conditions.

"Lower temperatures mean less evaporation losses and more water for environmental benefits," he said.

The Living Murray aims to achieve a healthy working Murray system for the benefit of all Australians.

The program focuses on recovering 500 gigalitres of water for the river to benefit the environment at six selected “icon sites” chosen for their high ecological value.

Mr Freeman said Chowilla Floodplain will receive about 1.445 GL in late April, supplementing water from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder which began flowing in March.

“The watering will prevent the loss of river red gum communities, other long lived vegetation and it will protect the benefits of previous waterings,” Mr Freeman said.

“Wallpolla Island (Sandy Creek and Finnigans East and West) will receive 1 GL to prevent critical loss of river red gum communities and create drought refuge for waterbirds, fish, frogs and turtles.”

Hattah Lakes (Chalka Creek North and South) will receive 1 GL to give highly stressed River Red Gums a drink.

Koondrook Forest, part of the Gunbower-Koondrook-Perricoota Forest icon site, will receive 1 GL to promote growth of rushes and reeds for future bird breeding habitat.

“The ongoing drought has been devastating to the environmental condition of the icon sites,” Mr Freeman said.

“But it’s heartening that even small amounts of environmental watering focusing on particular areas can avoid the loss of threatened species, avoid irretrievable damage and provide drought refuges.”


Media contact: MDBA, Sam Leone, phone (02) 6279 0141

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