Rivers and wetlands

Our rivers and wetlands are under critical stress due to a long history of catchment degradation and unsustainable water extraction.

Restoring our precious rivers and wetlands

Healthy rivers and wetlands are essential for native wildlife, Aboriginal cultural heritage, local communities, and a diverse range of industries, from floodplain grazing to tourism and recreational fishing. The rivers and wetlands of NSW are under extreme stress after decades of catchment degradation, water-course diversion, unsustainable water extraction, and climate change.

Over the past century, the Murray Darling Basin has experienced a dramatic decline in wetlands, waterbirds and native fish populations, due to a massive increase in the volume of water extracted for irrigation.

On the coast, coastal rivers, wetlands and estuaries have suffered from a lack of oversight and inadequate water-sharing plans, putting vulnerable coastal environments and wildlife at risk. In response to these threats, we continue to provide a vital voice for nature in water policy processes at the state and federal level.

To restore rivers and wetlands and deliver water justice we are calling on the NSW Government to:

  • Protect environmental water and river flows throughout NSW river systems, wetlands and estuaries.
  • Tighten the water-use monitoring regime and implement the ‘no meter, no pump’ objective universally.
  • Control floodplain harvesting by requiring an upfront cumulative environmental assessment prior to issuing floodplain harvesting licences, and placing limits on extraction.
  • Ruling out new dams or dam expansions, and promoting more efficient water usage.

See further: A Cleaner, Greener NSW – Policies for the 2019 NSW State Election and Beyond

Inland Rivers Network

We are a founding member of the Inland Rivers Network, a coalition of environment groups and individuals concerned about the degradation of the rivers, wetlands and ground waters of the Murray-Darling Basin. IRN has been advocating on behalf of the native fish, water birds and water dependent ecosystems in the Murray-Darling Basin since 1991.


Latest news




Water for Wetlands is Water for Life (2009)

Report on the state of the state's rivers wetlands and rivers.


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