Water

Combined efforts improve water quality

By Country News

Communities and landholders working together with government agencies are improving salinity and water quality in the Murray River, one of the key objectives of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Local Landcare co-ordinator, Western Murray Land Improvement Group member and Edward-Wakool Basin Reference Group member Roger Knight said for many years landholders had worked hard to improve land management practices resulting in positive downstream improvements in salinity and water quality.

‘‘Starting with the Wakool Land and Water Management Plans, and continuing on today, the local community and landholders responded to the salinity and water quality challenges in the region,’’ Mr Knight said.

‘‘By improving agricultural practices including through more efficient land layouts, recycling of water on-farm and other Landcare initiatives such as tree planting and improving riparian land management, we have seen improvements in the salinity and water quality in the region and downstream.

‘‘This is a perfect example of how local knowledge and local action can support large-scale policy goals and reforms, and make a big difference.’’

Murray-Darling Basin Authority chief executive Phillip Glyde said the results from ongoing monitoring of salinity and water quality targets were an important aspect of the basin plan.

‘‘We are only five years into implementing the basin plan, but we are already seeing some positive results,’’ Mr Glyde said.

‘‘There are clear signs that the basin plan is working.

‘‘Water quality in the Murray has seen a significant improvement in the last 30 years or so and this continues under the basin plan. Salinity targets have been met at four out of five monitoring sites and it’s a great result for River Murray communities.

‘‘Speaking with local landholders and community members in the Edward-Wakool region, it’s clear that there are real benefits and value in working with and alongside local groups, and tapping into that on-ground knowledge to better inform, manage and sustain our river systems for future generations.

‘‘I acknowledge the great work over many years by the local community.’’