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Murray Darling Basin

Overview

Encompassing more than one million square kilometres across five states and territories (Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia), the Murray-Darling Basin is home to two million people and three of Australia's largest rivers, the Murray, the Darling and the Murrumbidgee.

Not only is the Murray-Darling Basin Australia's largest river system, it is also Australia's agricultural heartland, responsible for the production of over one third of our food supply, including cereal crops (such as wheat, barley, rye, oats), oil-seed, sheep, cattle, dairy produce, rice, wine, fruit and vegetables. Nearly 75% of Australia's irrigated crops are grown in this area, so perhaps not surprisingly, water is the Basin’s most valuable resource. 

The largest threat to this area is a lack of water caused by drought and the demand placed on the rivers by agriculture. Although the Murray-Darling Basin is a vast catchment area, only around 14% of the land contained within its boundaries contributes consistent water run-off to the rivers.  Lack of water flow in the rivers has seen an increase in salinity, a reduction in river health and water quality and environmental stress placed upon river and wetland species and ecosystems, so that Australia's largest river system has become the focus of a nationwide campaign to educate the community and river users about management of the Basin's essential resources.

The links listed below provide a wealth of information and educational resources about the Murray-Darling Basin, the environmental issues associated with its use and the management strategies and plans put in place to protect it for future generations of Australians.

The Murray Darling Basin Authority

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is the single government agency responsible for the integrated management of the Murray-Darling Basin.  Taking over from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in 2008, it is responsible for maintaining the health and water quality of the Basin’s rivers and ecosystems, as well as providing water for the region’s agriculture and consumers.

The Education Resources pages of the MDBA website provide general information about the Murray-Darling Basin and water, as well as links to classroom activities.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is the single government agency responsible for the integrated management of the Murray-Darling Basin.  Taking over from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in 2008, it is responsible for maintaining the health and water quality of the Basin’s rivers and ecosystems, as well as providing water for the region’s agriculture and consumers.

The Education Resources pages of the MDBA website provide general information about the Murray-Darling Basin and water, as well as links to classroom activities.

Discover Murray River

Discover Murray River contains a wide variety of educational information about the Murray River, its history, townships, management, maps, school camps and national parks. It also includes a River Murray digital image library, whose royalty-free images can be used for school projects or as teaching resources.

Discover Murray River contains a wide variety of educational information about the Murray River, its history, townships, management, maps, school camps and national parks. It also includes a River Murray digital image library, whose royalty-free images can be used for school projects or as teaching resources.

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists consists of a group of scientists, economists and business leaders that share an environmental interest in the conservation and sustainable management of the Australian landscape with an emphasis on water. In 2004, the Wentworth Group released Blueprint for a National Water Plan which contributed to the National Water Initiative, the landmark agreement signed by all state, territory and federal governments to begin restoration of environmental flows within the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin to improve, conserve and protect the ecosystems and environmental assets of Australia’s largest river system.

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists consists of a group of scientists, economists and business leaders that share an environmental interest in the conservation and sustainable management of the Australian landscape with an emphasis on water. In 2004, the Wentworth Group released Blueprint for a National Water Plan which contributed to the National Water Initiative, the landmark agreement signed by all state, territory and federal governments to begin restoration of environmental flows within the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin to improve, conserve and protect the ecosystems and environmental assets of Australia’s largest river system.