Salt interception schemes are large-scale groundwater pumping and drainage projects that intercept saline water flows and dispose of them, generally by evaporation. Since 1988, the New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia Governments, together with the Commonwealth Government, have funded the construction of salt interception works along the Murray River, that have resulted in a reduction of 80 EC units (a measure of salinity concentration) at Morgan, South Australia.

To achieve this reduction, salt interception works across the three States have together pumped about 55,000 megalitres of saline water from water tables each year, resulting in about 550,000 tonnes of salt being kept out of the Murray River each year.

The NSW Office of Water is involved in a number of salt interception schemes:

  • Billabong Creek Salt Interception Scheme is funded under the Billabong Creek Green Offsets Project
  • Upper Darling Salt Interception Scheme located on the Glen Villa reach of the Darling River
  • Buronga Salt Interception Scheme commissioned in 1979. Reduces the average salinity at Morgan by an estimated 33 EC
  • Curlwaa Groundwater Interception Scheme commissioned in 1973. Reduces the average salinity at Morgan by an estimated 1.7 EC
  • Mallee Cliffs Groundwater Interception Scheme commissioned in 1994. Reduces the average salinity at Morgan by an estimated 13 EC.

For more information on Curlwaa and Mallee Cliffs Schemes, and salt interception schemes in general, visit the Murray-Darling Basin Authority website.