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Our Murray's dying for a drink

In 2010 drought breaking rains gave Victoria's Murray River and its River Red Gum parks their first decent drink in more than a decade.

Yet despite all that rain the diagnosis for the Murray River remains terminal - nothing can survive on one decent drink every 20 years.

This lack of water has had a devastating impact on both the river itself and the River Red Gum ecosystems that rely on it.

The problem is simple. Too much water has been taken from the river for too long.

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13 Thirsty Species

Over the past century water extraction from the Murray has increased 500 per cent. During that time the river has also suffered ongoing drought and the effects of climate change.

But the solution is simple too. Return 7600 billion litres of water to the Murray-Darling Basin - that's 4500 MCGs worth of water - to return Australia's greatest river system to health.


Draft Basin plan: call for submissions

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has finally released its draft plan to save the rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin for public comment.

Disappointingly the plan fails on many counts and will leave River Red Gum national parks and Ramsar-listed wetlands still dying for a drink.

Unless the environmental focus of the plan is stronger, including significantly higher quantities of water to be bought back from big irrigation interests, then the Gillard Government and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority will have failed to deliver on their promises of historical water reform and restoring our rivers.

The draft plan fails on many points, including:

  • It proposes returning just 2750 billion litres (GL) of water to the environment, which is not enough to provide a secure future for our river systems or for the communities who depend on them. The best available science says at least 4000 GL should be returned to the rivers of the Basin.
  • The draft plan fails to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth Water Act to protect and restore our river ecosystems; the scientific review by the CSIRO indicates that just 55% of environmental targets are likely to be met under the current proposal.
  • The implementation timeframe to 2019 is too long. It creates ongoing uncertainty for irrigators, the environment and the general community.
  • Water recovered for the Goulburn River, Victoria's biggest river, is inadequate and will fail to maintain a healthy river and provide adequate flows for the Lower Goulburn river national park.
  • The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has ignored its own climate change modelling and instead relied on historic climate - this will impact most on environmental water flows.


How to have your say

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is undertaking a formal consultation process on the proposed Basin plan for 20 weeks until 16 April 2012. Your voice will be vital in preventing the Gillard Government from adopting a bad plan that fails our rivers and River Red Gum parks.

You can get a copy of the draft Basin plan from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority website.

You can make your submission through the MDBA website. Otherwise address your submission to:

Proposed Basin Plan
Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Mail: GPO Box 3001, Canberra City ACT 2601
Fax: 02 6279 0558


Your donation will go a long way

Your donation today will make all the difference to Australia's greatest river and the lifeblood of our River Red Gum forests and wetlands by:

  • Helping us spread the word that despite the 2010 rains our River Red Gum parks still need saving and we need a national plan for water allocations to do it.
  • Giving us the chance to tell the public that saving the Murray and creating new green jobs will assist farmers and communities, not destroy them.
  • Giving us the funds needed to circulate information that shows the science supporting the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is solid.
  • Helping us raise the voice of the silent majority of Australians - more than 77 per cent - who want the Murray saved but are not being heard.

Donate now


Take action

Federal environment and water minister Tony Burke needs to hear that our River Red Gum parks need massive quantities of water to survive.

His government must deliver on its promises to save the Murray!

Email the minister


Find out why a failure to arrest declining river health has left large tracts of River Red Gum forests and globally significant wetlands struggling to survive.

Find out more