Work begins to Reconnect River Country in the Southern Murray-Darling Basin

Media release | 4 August 2021

The NSW Government will soon begin consultation on its Reconnecting River Country program, which will deliver community-driven projects that will improve environmental outcomes along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the program will focus first and foremost on delivering local and regional benefits, while also improving environmental outcomes for our rivers.

“The Reconnecting River Country program will look at the physical and operational barriers that prevent us effectively delivering water for the environment,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Using the best available science, including sophisticated Lidar mapping and river surveys, new flow inundation modelling has been developed to help landholders understand the impacts of increased flows on their properties.

“We have learnt from the past experience that community must be front and centre of this program for it to achieve real benefits for the environment, whilst also protecting landowners from the impact of increased flows. We have improved on the the work done to date by developing more accurate flow inundation mapping and modelling which now has to be reviewed by local landholders before it progresses further.”

The Reconnecting River Country Program comprises three projects in the southern-connected Murray-Darling Basin:

  • Hume to Yarrawonga (Murray River)
  • Yarrawonga to Wakool (Murray River)
  • Murrumbidgee River

Mrs Pavey said that bringing communities in right from the start would ensure local knowledge and practical know-how is built into the project design and mitigation measures.

“I know from my own discussions with landholders that many are passionate about their local environment and want to see more environmental water being used to support local wetlands and fish populations,” Mrs Pavey said.

“By improving the delivery of water for the environment, we can also deliver the social and economic benefits of a healthy river system to the communities that rely on it for recreation, tourism and business.

“Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic currently places some limitations on our ability to engage face-to-face, we remain committed to working with private landowners and public land managers, and First Nations communities, to improve flow maps, and develop appropriate flow regimes, and mitigation measures.

“We will be reaching out to people by all means possible to ensure they have ample opportunity to work with us to design this program.

“NSW is committed to delivering on our commitments under the Murray Darling Basin Plan, but I have made it clear we cannot deliver projects without the support of the communities impacted.

“I encourage southern Basin communities to reach out to the project team and get involved in the Reconnecting River Country program.”

For more information, visit Reconnecting River Country Program.