South Australia's Strategic Plan is comprised of 100 targets. These targets are specific and measurable and enable us to measure our progress towards achieving the Plan's visions and goals.

Each target is reported on through this section of the website. Data has been updated as at December 2017.


76. River Murray – flows:

Increase environmental flows in the River Murray by a minimum of 1 500 GL by 2018


Key Measure


Explanatory Comments

Target 76 relates to increasing environmental flows in the River Murray, to help ensure that adequate water provisions are made for a healthy river system. This is consistent with the intent of the Basin Plan (adopted in November 2012) to deliver a healthy working Murray-Darling Basin.

Increased environmental flows also support work to achieve the South Australian government strategic priority of “Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment”.

The Basin Plan is now the primary instrument that guides environmental water use across the Murray-Darling Basin, including within South Australia. A Basin-wide Environmental Watering Strategy has been published and South Australia has developed a long-term environmental watering plan and develops annual environmental watering priorities for River Murray environmental assets in South Australia to secure use of available environmental water, including from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

Target 76 (for 1,500 GL) has been met through the acquisition of water under a number of strategies including:

  • The Living Murray Initiative (Murray-Darling Basin Joint Governments): Since 2004, 479.97 gigalitres (GL) (long term average annual yield) of environmental water has been recovered for use at six icon sites in the Murray-Darling Basin. Three of these sites are in South Australia: the Chowilla floodplain, the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth and the River Murray channel. This water is jointly owned by the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victorian, Australian Capital Territory and South Australian Governments.
  • Commonwealth Government – Water for the Future: As at 8 November 2017, a total of 1,810.93 GL (long term average annual yield) had been recovered and held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEHW) for environmental use in the Murray-Darling Basin.
  • Environmental Water held by the South Australian Government: As at 8 November 2017, 6.56 GL (long term average annual yield) held for environmental use as part of the agreement with the Commonwealth Government on the desalination plant in South Australia. The water is used to water South Australian River Murray environmental assets. 

Combined, and as at 8 November 2017, this means that a total of 1,952.35 GL has been recovered (long term average annual yield) for use in the Southern Connected Murray-Darling Basin.

Importantly, although this SASP target has been met, there remains further work to do regarding water recovery for the environment. The Basin Plan sets a water recovery target of 2,750 GL by 2019 and a target for an additional 450 GL by 2024 (for a total of up to 3,200 GL). South Australia continues to work with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victorian, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland Governments to ensure full implementation of the Basin Plan including meeting all water recovery targets. This will maximise the likelihood of achieving Basin Plan environmental objectives, as described within South Australia’s River Murray long-term environmental watering plan (November 2015).

Lead Agency

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources