The Living Murray
The Living Murray Initiative is a major investment by the NSW, Victorian, South Australian, ACT and Commonwealth Governments to improve the environmental health of the Murray River. An investment of $700 million has been made to recover water at six significant ecological sites along the Murray. These are the Barmah Millewa Forest, Perricoota-Koondrook and Gunbower Forest, Hattah Lakes Complex, Chowilla wetlands and floodplain, Coorong and the Murray Mouth, and the River Murray Channel. Another $150 million is being spent on environmental works and other measures.
The NSW target is to recover 249 gigalitres of water for the environment. By June 2010, 197 gigalitres of water had been recovered.
Projects completed in the Murray include:
- the $54 million Great Darling Anabranch Pipeline scheme which involved the removal or modification of block banks and other water regulation structures which create a series of water pools, the installation of pumps, a pipeline, and a filtration system. This will save 47 gigalitres of water and allow the re-introduction of more natural flow conditions along the 460 kilometres of the Great Darling Anabranch
- the purchase of 12 gigalitres of irrigation entitlement from the Poon Boon Irrigation Trust
- wetland rehabilitation works on the Edward River. Edward River Savings Stage 1 involved the construction of 18 regulators to stop the unwanted flooding of the Millewa Forest saving 7.1 gigalitres of water
- the construction of a regulator to better manage the regulated flow to prevent unnatural flooding of Croppers Lagoon saving eight gigalitres of water.
The NSW Office of Water is the project director for the delivery of the Living Murray environmental works and measures program in NSW. The construction of the $57.7 million Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Flood Enhancement Project will divert water into and reinstate flooding in 17,000 hectares of the River Redgum forest.
The Koondrook-Perricoota Forest covers about 32,000 hectares and is part of the second-largest River Red Gum forest in the world. The forest is home to more than 210 species of native flora and 143 species of native fauna.
The works for the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest will allow managed flooding of the forest and include:
- inlet regulator and a 3.8 kilometre channel from Torrumbarry weir pool
- upper forest regulators
- return channel to the Murray River
- lower forest regulators
- associated levee banks.
The new infrastructure will enable water to be diverted into the creek system and contain the flooding to the forest and prevent any impact on surrounding farm land.
Water from the Murray River at Torrumbarry will be directed into natural flood runners, and run through 17,000 hectares of Redgum forest along the Murray, before being returned to the river.
Fish passages will be incorporated into structure design. View the schematic diagram of the proposed Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Flood Enhancement Works (PDF 707 KB)
During a flood event an initial inflow of 6,000 ML/day will be sustained for 50 days and then 3,400 ML/day for a further 50 days. Some 250 gigalitres will be used in the forest in any one watering, with the remainder being returned to the Murray River.
Media release 6 July 2012 Despite the wet, Koondrook-Perricoota project on track (PDF 229 KB).
Visit the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Flood Enhancement Works Project website, the new project information centre at 20 Mellool St, Barham NSW 2732, or contact us.
The Great Darling Anabranch (the Anabranch) is the ancestral path of the Darling River extending 460km from its junction with the Darling River south of the Menindee Lakes to the Murray River. In its natural state it is an ephemeral stream, however water has been supplied to the Anabranch since the 1960s when the Menindee Lakes scheme was developed.
Historically, almost every year a nominal volume of water (up to 50,000 megalitres) was released down the Anabranch from Lake Cawndilla. This release was ponded in 17 weir pools where approximately 3,000 megalitres per annum was extracted by the 41 landholders adjacent to the Anabranch and used for stock and non-potable domestic supply. The remainder was accounted for by wildlife use, evaporation, uptake by riparian vegetation and seepage.
The Darling Anabranch pipeline and environmental flow project is a major NSW initiative to return some 460km of degraded water course to a more natural ephemeral system. This has been achieved through the construction of a stock and domestic water supply pipeline to supply landholder needs, the removal of in-stream structures from within the Anabranch and the management of flows from Lake Cawndilla to mimic a more natural flow regime.
The project has a total budget of approximately $54 million and is listed on the Eligible Measures Register as part of NSW Package B under The Living Murray. All partner governments have expressed an interest in investing in the proposal.
The pipeline phase of the work cost approximately $28 million and will save approximately 47 gigalitres of water. (1 GL = 1000 ML = approximate volume of 1000 Olympic swimming pools).
It is the first major infrastructure project in the Murray–Darling Basin to provide significant water savings, improved water supply to landholders and enhanced environmental outcomes.
The benefits to landholders include a more secure and efficient stock and domestic water supply. There will also be improved water quality and farm viability.
Environmental benefits include encouraging breeding opportunities for native fish and yabbies, improved water quality for the environment and reduced frequency of blue-green algal blooms. The growth of a variety of native aquatic plants will be encouraged.
Implementation of aniIndigenous employment strategy has provided employment opportunities for indigenous people from the Dareton–Wentworth and Menindee areas.
Darling Anabranch scheme map