Aerial of Murray Mouth, Coorong

A new water research hub – The Goyder Water Research Institute – is set to receive $8 million in Federal funding and is set to use First Nations and community input to investigate the impacts of climate change on the health of the waterways.

The Goyder Institute is a partnership between the South Australian Department of Environment and Water, CSIRO, Flinders University and the universities of Adelaide and South Australia.

The Institute aims to improve scientific knowledge to better the management of the internationally significant Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region, both of which are Ramsar-listed wetlands and are internationally recognised for supporting rare and endangered plants and animals, as well as significant populations of waterbird and fish species.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, said the investment is a down payment for the future of the Murray River.

“This investment is part of our plan to future-proof Australia’s water resources by investing in critical knowledge to improve management of the region as climate change impacts become more acute.”

The wetlands support the greatest wealth of waterbird species in the Murray-Darling Basin, hosting important nesting colonies of cormorants, plovers, ibises and terns. The wetlands also support globally endangered species such as the orange-bellied parrot and the Murray cod.

Identifying future threats to water security and developing an integrated approach to water management in South Australia is essential, making the funding a responsible investment into the future of South Australian Natural Resources.

“An important part of the Goyder Institute’s work will be to develop relationships with First Nations, communities and industries to harness ideas to improve management of this ecologically important area,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Healthy rivers mean healthy river town economies.”

The investment is also another vote of confidence in the growing Goolwa community. The research hub will provide a huge boost to the local economy and attract the best and the brightest to work here.

This investment demonstrates the importance of the region to the ecological health of the Basin.

The hub should be up and running in the first half of 2023 with a planned research program.

“The projects the Goyder Institute undertake in the next four years will consider all these complex interdependencies to make sure we can manage these precious resources in a way that best meets the needs of our rivers and wetlands, our communities and our industrie,” Ms Plibersek said. 

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