The Murray-Darling Basin supports a vibrant and unique environment, as well as significant social, economic and cultural values.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was established in 2012 to improve the health of the Basin and address decades of overuse of water and the impacts of drought.

This report card describes real benefits for fish, waterbirds and vegetation from environmental watering in northern Victoria, showing that significant progress has occurred since the implementation of the Basin Plan.

Victoria invests heavily in monitoring the outcomes from environmental watering through various programs. These show positive outcomes in many rivers and wetlands, including:

  • Native fish are doing well, with increases in abundance for many species and waterways
  • Waterbirds are responding, with their habitat is protected for breeding
  • Vegetation is responding, with better condition and increases in some threatened species
  • Early indications that frogs are responding well
  • Complementary measures like control of stock grazing, feral animals and weeds, as well as fishways, are working and are critical to realise the full benefits of environmental watering.

Water for the environment not only provides ecological benefits, there are many broader benefits that support the social and economic fabric of our communities, including water to sustain Country and support cultural uses for Traditional Owners, providing local recreation opportunities in and around waterways, encouraging tourism, and supporting health, recreation and recuperation for local communities.

As development has occurred across Victoria many areas have been disconnected from their natural watering regime to prevent flooding and regulate supply. These areas now cannot be actively watered to support their ecological condition.

Continuing to invest in environmental works to reconnect targeted areas is critical to achieving the Basin Plan’s objectives and to enable environmental watering across a larger area of our important environmental assets. This will also help nearby areas to recover when large floods occur.

Barmah Forest. Credit: Keith Ward, Goulburn Broken CMA.

Page last updated: 28/09/22