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Published: 22 January 2019   •   Media release

Governments across the Murray–Darling Basin have outlined an extensive amount of collaborative work underway to help prevent further fish deaths, following a meeting of senior water officials in Canberra.

Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Chief Executive Phillip Glyde said more fish deaths are likely before the drought breaks. Officials have identified areas on high alert which include the Lower Darling, Barwon-Darling, Lake Inverell, Namoi, Lower Murrumbidgee and Mannus Creek.

“At these and other sites, on advice from experts, governments are using aerators, releasing water where it is available, relocating fish to other habitats, and closely monitoring water quality including through satellite imagery,” Mr Glyde said.

“I am impressed by the work being done by governments and I’m confident they are doing everything they possibly can to improve conditions and support communities through the drought. However, the current climate makes the situation extremely challenging.”

Today’s meeting also heard an update from the Bureau of Meteorology, which briefed officials on the ongoing drought in the northern Basin and the emerging dry conditions in the southern Basin.

The MDBA will now prepare a report for the Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, with recommended additional actions for the short, medium and long term.

The MDBA also welcomes the government announcement of an independent assessment of fish death events in the Lower Darling. The terms of reference are available at

“The independent assessment will be a great opportunity to review the cause of the event and improve future management,” Mr Glyde said. “The MDBA will cooperate fully with the assessment.

“Unfortunately, fish death events are common across Australia, particularly in a hot and dry summer, and more fish kill events are likely before the drought breaks”.

Also today, to further illustrate the crucial role of water for the environment, the MDBA launched an interactive online platform which takes audiences through how water for the environment is managed for the health of our Basin.

Water for the environment is crucial to help plants, animals and birds in the basin build resilience and survive drought conditions.

The interactive online platform is available at

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