Regulation and diversion of Murray River flows have substantially reduced the frequency and duration of the high river flows that would naturally water the lower Murray wetlands. This change to the water regime has been exacerbated by climate change and has reduced the variety and condition of environmental values associated with billabongs and other floodplain habitats.
Water for the environment can be delivered to some wetlands in the region through direct pumping from the Murray River and/or use of irrigation supply infrastructure. Most wetlands that receive environmental flows can be managed independently of each other.
Some wetlands within the lower Murray region can receive water through weir pool manipulation and regulator operation, for improved environmental outcomes. However, because they do not receive held environmental water, they are not specified under this plan. Details of the environmental objectives associated with those wetlands can be found in the Mallee CMA’s Seasonal Watering Proposal for the Lower Murray Wetlands 2020–21.