Skip to main content
Go to search page
Published: 27 June 2018   •   Media release

Maintaining the Murray–Darling Basin's rivers and wetlands through dry conditions will be a main priority for watering in 2018-19.

Following a dry trend across the Basin over the past 12 months, planning for environmental watering will anticipate dry conditions in the northern Basin and moderate conditions in the southern Basin.

Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Acting General Manager Science and Evaluation, Dr Matt Coleman, said water managers will aim to bank the progress made in 2017-18, improving conditions for native species at key sites.

"A key priority for water managers is to provide connectivity for native fish throughout the Basin and to also maintain waterbird habitats and vegetation," Dr Coleman said.

"We have also committed to incorporating Traditional Owner knowledge into the planning and management of water for the environment – next year's priorities will include work that we are doing with the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations to integrate Aboriginal people's perspectives.

"This year we are planning in anticipation of the northern Basin to be dry, with moderate conditions for the southern Basin, so environmental watering will need to be tailored to meet different demands.

"In the drier catchments, we will encourage water managers to focus on in-channel events, floodplains close to the main rivers, providing drought refuges for native species, and also supporting critical habitats such as wetlands for birds.

"In the catchments that are wetter, we can do a bit more by building on progress from the past two seasons. This means in years to come rivers and floodplains will be better prepared to survive drier times and can also support breeding and growth.

"The environmental watering priorities have been released each year for the past six years as part of the MDBA's commitment to transparency. It provides a common road map to help water holders and managers to plan cooperative and collaborative watering events.

"It's important to remember in dry times that environmental water holders, like irrigators, manage water entitlements with annual allocations – and just like any other water holder, they are subject to allocation restrictions."

Specific priorities for 2018-19 include:

  • Delivering flows in the north with particular attention to the Barwon–Darling to reduce cease-to-flow events and benefit native fish.
  • Supporting migratory shorebird populations in the Coorong and other important sites.
  • Expand the extent and improve resilience of Ruppia tuberosa in the southern Coorong.
  • Support Basin-scale population recovery of native fish by reinstating flows that promote ecological processes across the southern connected Basin.

The priorities can be found at


Get in touch with the MDBA media team

Media releases

Sign me up to receive media releases:

Get in touch

Journalists can contact the MDBA 24 hour media unit on (02) 6279 0141 or reach us at

Follow us on social media

Follow @MD_Basin_Auth on Twitter
Find MDBAuth on Facebook