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Published: 16 May 2018   •   Media release

Local communities and landholders working together with government agencies are improving salinity and water quality in the River Murray, one of the key objectives of the Basin Plan.

Local Landcare Coordinator, Western Murray Land Improvement Group, and member of the Edward-Wakool Basin Reference group, Roger Knight, said that for many years landholders have worked very hard to improve land management practices resulting in positive downstream improvements in salinity and water quality.

"Starting with the Wakool Land and Water Management Plans, and continuing on today, the local community and landholders responded to the salinity and water quality challenges in the region," Mr Knight said.

"By improving agricultural practices including through more efficient land layouts, recycling of water on farm and other Landcare initiatives such as tree planting and improving riparian land management, we have seen improvements in the salinity and water quality in the region and downstream.

"This is a perfect example of how local knowledge and local action can support large-scale policy goals and reforms, and make a big difference."

Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said that the results from ongoing monitoring of salinity and water quality targets were an important aspect of the Basin Plan.

"We are only five years into implementing the Basin Plan, but we are already seeing some positive results.  There are clear signs that the Basin Plan is working," Mr Glyde said.

"Water quality in the Murray has seen a significant improvement in the last 30 years or so and this continues under the Basin Plan. Salinity targets have been met at four out of five monitoring sites and it's a great result for River Murray communities.

"Speaking with local landholders and community members in the Edward-Wakool region, it's clear that there are real benefits and value in working with and alongside local groups, and tapping into that on-ground knowledge to better inform, manage and sustain our river systems for future generations. I acknowledge the great work over many years by the local community.

"The Governments and communities are successfully working together to implement the Basin Salinity Management 2030 strategy and the Basin Plan to reduce salinity levels and improve water quality in the Murray. Actions such as salt interception schemes, improved land, water and riparian management and the addition of Environmental water are all contributing".

"We know that there are still parts of the Basin, particularly in the Darling River and the Northern Basin, where there is much more work to do to improve water quality—but we are confident that when the Basin Plan is fully implemented, it will play an important role in helping to improve salinity and water quality at the Basin scale."

The MDBA and the Edward-Wakool reference group continues to work together to incorporate local knowledge for continuous improvement in Basin Plan implementation.

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