Wentworth Report a Red Alert for River Murray: Greens


The Greens say today’s comprehensive 40-year study by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists is a red alert for the health of the River Murray. The new report today reveals the current Murray Darling Basin Plan is failing to meet essential environmental waterflow benchmarks.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is Greens Spokesperson for the Environment and Manager of Business in the Senate:

“This comprehensive scientific report is a red alert for the River Murray.

"We need a guarantee that the 450 Gigalitres of water that was promised for the environment and South Australia will be delivered.

"The Greens will fight to save the Murray in the Senate with a guarantee to the water needed for the river and for South Australia.

"Without a guarantee, we will see more fish kills, salinity, blue-green algae, species decline, degradation of floodplain ecosystems, and disaster for the wetlands.

“We know this problem is exacerbated by climate change. Every time the Minister approves a new coal mine or gas field, she is risking the health of the River Murray.”

The Wentworth study found:

-Less than a third (31%) of the Basin’s environmental water requirements assessed were achieved in the past 43 years. 

-In the decade since the Basin Plan 2012 was enacted, only about a quarter (26%) of all environmental flow requirements assessed were achieved, demonstrating an overall declining trend. 

-Only two of the eight Ramsar wetlands of International Importance (Gwydir Wetlands, Narran Lake) received the overbank flows required to stay healthy.