Annual environmental water priorities in the Murrumbidgee catchment

This year, managed watering events will aim to restore a more natural flow pattern to support a robust food web, other system functions and provide connections between the river and floodplain wetlands to aid in the movement of essential nutrients and native fish.

Priorities for 2020–21

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a shift toward wetter than average conditions and warmer than average temperatures through winter–spring 2020 in the Murrumbidgee catchment.

In 2020–21, water managers will continue to build on the success of previous years through the careful management of water for the environment.

This year managed watering events will initially focus on maintaining drought refuge habitat for southern bell frogs, native fish, waterbirds and other aquatic species.

Water managers plan to supplement existing system flows to provide the maximum benefit to plants and animals. Watering events will aim to restore a more natural flow pattern to support a robust food web and other system functions. Water will be managed to provide essential connections between the river and floodplain wetlands to aid in the movement of essential nutrients and native fish.

Flows are planned to provide refuge habitat for waterbirds, turtles, frogs and other aquatic species in core areas of Yanga National Park, Gayini and North Redbank wetlands. Key Australasian bittern habitat will be watered in the Murrumbidgee and Coleambally irrigation areas and Yanco Creek systems.

The management of water for the environment provides flexibility to respond to natural events that may occur during the year.

Further details on watering priorities for 2020–21 can be found in the Annual Environmental Watering Priorities 2020–21 (PDF 2.8MB).

Highlights from 2019–20

During 2019–20, water managers worked with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to deliver approximately 73 gigalitres of water for the environment to sites including the Gayini (formerly known as Nimmie Caira) and North Redbank wetlands.

Water was also used to maintain refuge wetland habitats in the Murrumbidgee and Coleambally irrigation areas as well as Mid-Murrumbidgee, Lower Murrumbidgee and Wanganella Swamp pumping projects.