The central Murray wetlands are almost wholly contained within the Torrumbarry Irrigation Area and are all wetlands of regional or international significance. The area has experienced dramatic changes since European settlement with the construction of levees, roads and channels. Most of the wetlands are now cut off from natural flow paths and are rarely inundated by natural floods. They rely on water for the environment to maintain their ecological character and health.
Nine of the central Murray wetlands can receive water for the environment from permanent infrastructure: Lake Cullen, Hird Swamp, Johnson Swamp, Round Lake, McDonalds Swamp, Lake Elizabeth, Lake Murphy, Richardsons Lagoon and the Wirra-Lo wetland complex. Temporary pumps may be used to deliver water for the environment from the River Murray to some semi-permanent wetlands in the Guttrum and Benwell forests.