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Published: 10 July 2019   •   Media release

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority's Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, welcomed the announcement that environmental water holders will be using water bought to benefit the environment in the coming weeks. 

"This watering event will help a stressed system cope better should the forecast continued dry conditions eventuate," Mr Glyde said.

"Millewa wetlands and forest on the New South Wales side of the River Murray are being targeted as they only received a small amount of water last year.

"This water will give native fish, waterbirds and vegetation a boost by improving water quality and aquatic food sources. This water super-charged with food will return from the wetlands to flow down the length of the river."

Mr Glyde acknowledged the impacts the continued drought had on water availability for all water users making the scarce resource even more contested.

"This drought is tough on everyone—including the environment," he said.

"I recognise how hard the current conditions are for farmers.

"Since the millennium drought, water has been recovered from irrigators so that when things are tough the environment has its fair share—that's the whole point of the Basin Plan.

"We have all seen what happens to rivers under stress—we have seen the terrible fish deaths recently and in the millennium drought we saw the Murray start to fail.

"Prevention is better than cure. It's better to act early.

"Environmental water holders have water available so it's important they use it before it is too late to make a difference.

"This water will help the world's largest river red gum forests, wetland refuges, as well as native fish prepare for what could be a continuation of dry and hot conditions.

"We all hope forecasts will change and we get substantial rain but environmental water holders have planned to use their water based on the conditions at hand to protect the rivers that our communities depend on.

"This is the Basin Plan in action."

ENDS

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