“We’ve got a problem, we’re going to have less water, so what do we do? Mechanise the river and extract more. ... It’s not the way to address a drying future.”
- Mel Gray, Convenor of Healthy Rivers Dubbo.
The Murray-Darling Basin is the largest river system in Australia, covering more than one million square kilometres across the east of the continent. It spans from Southern Queensland, through New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, to Northern Victoria and across to South Australia, where the Murray Mouth opens to the sea.
Flows in the Murray River are an accumulation of the tributaries that traverse the vast landscape that makes up the Basin. There are 22 major water catchments in the Murray-Darling Basin, that are commonly divided into two sections; the Southern Basin and the Northern Basin. The Murray River originates in the high country of Victoria and New South Wales and flow out to the Murray mouth in South Australia.
The Southern Basin is made up of all rivers and tributaries that culminate in the Murray. The Northern Basin is made up of all the waters that flow into the Darling/Baaka. On the lower reaches of the Darling/ Baaka in far west New South Wales are The Menindee Lakes, an altered natural lakes system that act as a water storage where the waters of the North culminate. Flows down the Darling/Baaka below the Menindee Lakes are controlled releases and included in the Southern Basin as they enter the Murray at Wentworth in South-West New South Wales. From there the Murray flows through to the Coorong in South Australia and into the Southern Ocean via the Murray Mouth, 100km to the South East of Adelaide.