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Rivers. Worth it.

Healthy rivers, lakes and wetlands are essential now and for future generations. The Murray–Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia – it is worth saving.

Our economy and communities depend on a healthy Basin. Home to many of Australia’s unique plants and animals, and supporting Australia’s largest agricultural sector. It’s diversity is its strength.

Managing a system that is so diverse and has many competing needs is challenging, but it’s worth it. Science and local knowledge guide it’s management to strike the right balance. We need to get this right.

Water is a precious resource in Australia. From rugged mountain ranges, through sun-kissed plains, to the ancient lakes and connection to the sea. The Murray–Darling Basin – it is worth saving.

Rivers. Worth it.

Healthy rivers, healthy economy.

More than 2.3 million Australians call the Murray–Darling Basin home.

The Basin produces $22 billion worth of food and fibre every year. It truly is the food bowl of our nation.

$11 billion tourism dollars are spent in the Basin annually, creating priceless memories for many families. We are drawn to rivers and lakes for recreational and social activities, and to connect to the land around us.
Our rivers and lakes support a unique Australian habitat, critical to more than 120 waterbird species, more than 50 native fish species, and 16 internationally-recognised and protected wetlands.

Changing rivers, changing environment.

Each section of river responds differently, and has its own unique mini-ecosystem. The rivers are connected, and environmental changes can cause impacts along the whole system.

Each town and community is different. Some communities have thriving agricultural, tourism and manufacturing sectors – other communities are struggling to maintain employment options and keep young people in town.

Across the rivers, there are a range of complex issues regarding water quality and salinity. In 2016–17, 1.84 million tonnes of salt was flushed out to sea through the Murray mouth.

Agriculture is constantly changing, with farmers using modern technologies and systems, and also focusing on meeting changing consumer demands and expectations.

Science and knowledge, planning for the future

The Murray–Darling Basin is managed across four states and a territory – Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia.

Up and down the rivers, scientific data is constantly being collected and analysed including information on water quality, vegetation, birds, fish, and animals of the Basin.
The people that run the rivers use ‘models’ to simulate a range of possible future scenarios and consider how different rainfall, evaporation and climate could impact on river flows.

All over the Basin, more and more people are getting involved and having their say in local water management. This local knowledge helps guide decisions.

Updated: 26 Apr 2022