The MDBA says water for the environment is providing food and habitat for fish and other aquatic animals.

In Spring 2020, a system-scale environmental flow event was coordinated by New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian governments, the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO). 

This event – known as the 2020 Southern Spring Flow - added to flows in the River Murray. 

The authorities say this delivered water to major wetland sites through thousands of kilometres of rivers. 

Scientists were brought in to measure changes in productivity along the length of the river to understand whether the spring flows boosted the aquatic food web.

The water from these flows inundated around 25 per cent of Barmah–Millewa Forest before returning to the River Murray. 

This combined with flows from the Goulburn, Murrumbidgee and Lower Darling (Baaka) Rivers to create a flow pulse down the length of the River Murray from Yarrawonga to the Coorong in South Australia.

CSIRO measured how carbon, nutrients and stream metabolism changed at 7 key areas along the River Murray in response to the flows. It is the first time the stream metabolism method has been applied to these areas. 

The measured increases in carbon, nutrients and changes in stream metabolism demonstrated a boost in productivity to support aquatic food webs from the delivery of water for the environment.