SA Government LogoState Library of South Australia logoDownstream, the River Murray in South Australia
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Who 'owns' the Murray: Environmental Awareness 1995–

In 1995 the Murray-Darling Basin Commission undertook an audit of the use of Murray River waters. The audit showed that the continued increase in the use of water from the Murray would exacerbate the environmental problems such as salinity and poor water quality and intensify the inconstancy of the supply of water, particularly during droughts. Based on the audit's findings, the Murray-Darling Ministerial Council imposed a cap on the amount of water diverted from any part of the Basin. The cap is still in place and varies in volume year by year, depending on the climactic conditions. The Federal government announced the creation of the Natural Heritage Trust, worth $1.5 billion, in 1996. This strategy included a program of rehabilitation for the Murray-Darling Basin and in 2001 the government announced an additional $1 billion would be provided for the Trust with $350 million of this to be spent on improving Australia's water quality. In 1996 Queensland signed the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement and in 1998 the Australian Capital Territory endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding as a way of participating in the Agreement.

Drifting lazily along the vital river
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Farmers face irrigation limit
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Good news and bad in water deal
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It's all flow: historic Murray deal signed
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Minister in battle for more water flow
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Murray veto power for common good
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National river deal marks real progress
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New laws to control river use
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Our goal of the year
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River basin drained to death
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River protection powers
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Ten ministers, an agreement, but there's no flow-on eff
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