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Improving the capacity to manage blackwater in the southern Murray-Darling Basin

  Improving the capacity to manage blackwater in the southern Murray-Darling Basin
 
Blackwater in the Murray River near Euston, January 2011

Full Title

Improving the capacity to manage blackwater in the southern Murray-Darling Basin

Contact Person 

Darren Baldwin

Funding Body

Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Duration

2012-13

Summary

The occurrence of hypoxic blackwater represents a significant environmental risk arising from the allocation of environmental water or from warm-season flood events and this risk needs to be managed within an adaptive management framework. This requires that sufficient data be collected during watering or flood events both to inform real-time management interventions and also to assess the effectiveness of these interventions both during and after the event. Taking an adaptive and risk management approach to blackwater also requires planning and coordination and once the event is over, the synthesis of information and its incorporation into models to inform future management.

This project was about increasing the capacity for monitoring of blackwater risk associated with environmental watering events or flood events throughout the southern Murray-Darling Basin. The activities undertaken through this project represent a progression in the role that the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre has undertaken during the last two significant blackwater events along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers, during which we collated, synthesised and distributed system-wide water quality data to water managers on a regular basis and subsequently analysed the drivers of these events. Expansion of our role in the coordination of blackwater monitoring and management will contribute to a holistic approach to water quality management in the southern Murray-Darling Basin.

Outcomes

The outcomes of this and related MDFRC projects on managing blackwater are explained in the attached article, featured recently in RipRap 37 Rivers of Carbon - Rivers of Life.

PDFDarren Baldwin talks about tools to adaptively manage blackwater. (187 KB)