Save the Murray
The Murray River's the lifeblood of our country - it supports our people, wildlife and economy – and it’s in serious trouble.
The mighty Murray - and the rivers that flow into it - have been teetering on the brink of collapse. For far too long, we've been taking too much water out of them. By the end of the last drought, 75 percent of wetlands in Victoria had disappeared, more in some areas, native fish numbers were down by 90 percent and red gum forests were dying. Something has to change if they're to survive future droughts.
Recent rains and floods have provided the Murray with some welcome relief. River Red Gums are drinking deeply, wetlands are glistening and cacophonies of waterbirds are raising clutches of chicks. We’d love to see it stay that way.
But nothing and no one can survive on one decent drink every twenty years. If the Murray is going to survive the next big dry it needs water put back into the system. 4000 billion litres, to be precise.
And now, after a decade of hard work, we finally have a national plan to put most of that water back into the Murray. The final version of the Basin Plan allows for 2750GL to be returned to the environment, out of the 4000GL recommended by scientists, with a provision for an additional 450GL to be returned in 2030.
So what does 2750GL mean for the environment? It doesn’t provide the protection needed for species in jeopardy. In many places we’ll have flooding for too short a time for birds to breed and native fish will still be stuck, unable to migrate or breed. Lower Lakes still have the potential to acidify, effectively becoming dead lakes and critical salinity thresholds in the Coorong will still be exceeded, wiping out local wildlife. Wetlands and floodplains will be threatened, with not enough water reaching black box woodlands. And a lack of flows is bad news for South Australia.
It’s clear then that this is not enough water, but it’s important to remember how far we’ve come. When we started campaigning for a Basin Plan, 500GL for the environment seemed like a distant goal. We’ve been up against a vigorous, self-interested campaign from some irrigator lobby groups, businesses and upstream states. So the fact that the water recovery target has increased at all is something to celebrate. There’s also the small matter that over 1500 GL has already been recovered for the environment (mainly through water purchase) and is being used right now to improve conditions for fish and birds.
The thing that has made these improvements to the Plan possible is community action – and that means all of you who signed petitions, made submissions, delivered flyers, came to meetings, called the radio station, alerted your Facebook friends, talked about the Murray at the dinner table and helped in a thousand different ways. So CONGRATULATIONS, your actions have made a difference – the amount of water to go back to the Murray is more than 5 times what it was 10 years ago – that’s a big change!
Of course it’s not the end of the story - it never is - and there’s plenty of work to be done before all that water gets back in the river. And more battles ahead to get the river what it really needs for the long term which is at least 4000 GL.
MDBA makes good start on constraint management
28 November 2013
Environment Victoria has welcomed the Constraints Management Strategy released by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority today.
The Strategy identifies major obstacles to the delivery of environmental water...more
State of the Environment report paints bleak picture for the future
28 November 2013
Environment Victoria has warned today that the continued deterioration of Victoria’s environment, as highlighted in the State of Environment Report released today, is a clear and present...more
Victorian environment report suggests consideration of congestion tax, more buses
28 Novemberr 2013
Tom Arup, The Age
Broken promises and backwards steps - Audit finds Napthine Government has broken 13 environment election promises
27 November 2013
On the third anniversary of the election of the Coalition Government, Environment Victoria has today released its final audit of the state...more
Napthine Government takes important first step to get cows out of rivers
30 October 2013
Environment Victoria has welcomed the Napthine Government’s decision to reduce water licence fees for farmers who fence off their land to prevent stock from damaging rivers.
2013 Community Environment Recognition Award winners named
24 October 2013
Last night Environment Victoria held its 2013 Community Environmental Recognition Awards. The awards recognised the achievements of ten remarkable groups and individuals from around the state who have...more
Environment Victoria slams new water plan
2 October 2013
Kristen Alebakis, Bendigo Advertiser
New Waterway Strategy won’t rescue our rivers
2 October 2013
Environment Victoria has today criticised the Napthine Government’s Victorian Waterway Management Strategy as lacking in ambition to improve the health of the state’s rivers and wetlands.
No boost in health of rivers
29 September 2013
Farrah Tomazin, The Age
Copper mine belt to ring Grampians
23 September 2013
Nick Toscano, The Age
The Healthy Rivers team is working on an exciting new project called Our Rivers Our Lifeblood and we need your help to bring it to life.
It’s the most crucial election for our environment in decades and yet no one’s talking about the mammoth in the room.
Sure, Tony Abbott’s called himself ‘a fair dinkum environmentalist’ and Kevin Rudd’s called climate change ‘the greatest...more
We owe so much to trees: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the paper you’re reading this on… Ok, got you with that one, but the list goes on!
Do you have a favourite wetland? It could be just about anywhere in Victoria - somewhere big like Moira Lake in the Barmah Forest or Sale Common, or somewhere small like the Kew Billabong on the Yarra, or a secret spot on a little creek in the middle of nowhere. Or one of 13,000 other...more
How you invest and manage your money can have a big impact on our environment. So why not take the Ethical Money Challenge, to ensure that your money is used to create the future you want?
So you’ve tried green cleaning, riding to work and eating green. You’re a real green...more
- Water Security, Healthy Rivers: Our Vision for Melbourne |
- An Audit of Seven Environmental Bulk Entitlements – Recommended, Planned, and Actual Release of Environmental Water to Victoria’s Stressed Rivers |
- Submission to 2009 Biennial Assessment of progress in Implementation of the National Water Initiative |
- Environment Victoria’s submission to the draft Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy |
- Inquiry into Melbourne's Future Water Supply |
- Environment Victoria submission to Environment Effects Statement for the Victorian Desalination Project |
- Submission to the EPBC investigation of the Sugarloaf Pipeline |
- Environment Victoria submission to Project Impact Assessment of the Sugarloaf Pipeline Proposal |
- Submission to Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy Discussion Paper |
- Environment Victoria's letter to Minister Madden requesting an EES for the Sugarloaf Pipeline |