High River Alert
Toggle dismiss alert

The Murray River is currently experiencing high water levels. To understand how you might be affected, please head to our High River Advice webpage for resources and latest information.

Dismiss alert
14th September 2022

High flows and delivery of water for the environment

Flow into South Australia exceeded 50,000 megalitres per day during August for the first time since December 2016 and will return to that rate or higher during September. This is having a positive impact on local floodplains and wetlands. The environmental benefits from these higher flows is being further boosted through the operation of environmental regulators at the Pike and Chowilla floodplains. In addition, planned weir pool raising actions are currently ‘working together’ with higher flows to further enhance the areas receiving water for the environment.

Over 12,000 hectares of floodplains and wetlands are receiving a drink because of the high flows in the River Murray, raising of weir pools and the operation of environmental regulators. Most of this area hasn’t been inundated since the last high river flows 6 years ago. This includes around 4,000 hectares of River red gums woodlands. Black box woodlands are also benefiting from the higher flows as levels rise along the River. Regular watering of these communities is critical to support and maintain the condition and long-term survival of the many species that depend on healthy floodplains and wetlands.

On the Pike and Chowilla floodplains, a range of frog species are being heard, with monitoring programs about to commence to track how the plants and animals are responding. Watering actions are ‘complementing’ the high flows to further enhance the areas receiving water for the environment.

As flows connect with the floodplain resources from the inundated areas like carbon, nutrients, zooplankton and phytoplankton become available to support the aquatic food web. This will fuel the growth and reproduction of yabbies, Murray cod, callop and water birds. The inundation will be followed by the growth of understorey vegetation as the water recedes and floodplain and wetlands areas begin to dry out.

You may have noticed recently that some local infrastructure such as boat ramps, camp site infrastructure and roads are temporarily closed due to the current higher flows. The South Australian Constraints Measures Project is working with local government and communities to prioritise and deliver a number of infrastructure upgrade projects to help improve access during high flow events. Early on-ground works are due for completion by 30 June 2024.

If you would like further information, please contact our Engagement Team on DEW.WIOCommunications@sa.gov.au