Water

Fauna to benefit from flows

By Country News

Environmental watering priorities across the Murray-Darling Basin will support river flows and connectivity during the coming year and target ways to help native fish, waterbirds and native vegetation survive ongoing dry conditions.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority released the environmental watering priorities last week and said the main focus for the coming water year would be to avoid irreversible impacts on vegetation, fish, waterbirds and the important sites that sustained them.

MDBA science, knowledge and engagement executive director Carl Binning said the priorities also highlighted the need to manage risks to water quality, with warm and dry conditions expected to continue into the coming water year, which started on July 1.

‘‘Just as communities are grappling with this drought, so is the environment,’’ Mr Binning said.

‘‘It’s crucial that water for the environment is used carefully and that each drop delivers the maximum benefit for fish, waterbirds and native vegetation.

‘‘The priorities took account of the relevant recommendations of Professor Rob Vertessy and his expert panel on the fish deaths in the lower Darling River over summer.

‘‘The priorities aim to improve river connectivity and help support areas of refuge for native fish during the drought, particularly in the northern basin, and to provide flows to core wetlands and areas of native vegetation.’’

■The basin environmental watering priorities 2019-20 is available at: www.mdba.gov.au/publications/mdba-reports/basin-annual-environmental-watering-priorities