An active use of environmental water will extend the benefits of last spring’s wet conditions, according to a Murray-Darling Basin Authority forecast released last week.
Head of environmental management Carl Binning said the best results for the environment could be achieved by using available water to extend the benefits from last year.
‘‘In 2017-18 we will have our first opportunity to do watering on a large scale using the water recovered for the environment over the past 10 years under the basin plan,’’ Mr Binning said.
‘‘Last year we saw flows in the rivers and across the floodplains not experienced for a long time.
‘‘This has left water accounts for all entitlement holders fairly strong for the start of the 2017-18 water year.’’
Mr Binning said it was a tremendous opportunity for environmental water managers to improve the resilience of the ecosystem and move forward the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which allowed for long-term system health.
‘‘Actively using environmental water during wetter periods is an important part of making our river environment resilient and able to sustain the environment in the dry periods that will inevitably return.
‘‘Water doesn’t recognise state borders, so this is about working together.
‘‘The ways different Commonwealth and state government agencies work with communities to manage water strategically for greater environmental benefit is increasingly sophisticated.’’
Mr Binning said the outlook for 2017-18 would be shaped by ecological, climate and hydrological signals, such as connectivity and flows that had been seen over the past year, with basin-wide priorities for environmental water used to be released in June.