It is the largest and most complex river network in Australia, covering 1 million square kilometers across four states and one territory: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory. In recent years, the increase in drought events on one hand and the increasingly extensive use of watercourses for agricultural or commercial purposes on the other have severely tested the flow and resilience of the Murray-Darling Basin.
This incredible water basin is indeed a national asset. Around the basin, 2.3 million Australians and 120 different bird species reside. Tourism has an annual impact of 11 billion Australian dollars on the area, while agriculture generates wealth equivalent to 14 billion US dollars through the 7,300 farms irrigated by its waters.
That’s why, since 2012, the country has initiated a project, still ongoing, to safeguard, protect, and modernize essential infrastructure for the life of the Murray-Darling Basin.
The plan to protect Australia's most precious water basin continues.
Between 2008 and 2025, the Australian federal government allocated 9.5 billion US dollars to support water management-related infrastructure projects. Of these, almost all, namely 8.2 billion dollars, financed the protection and development plan for the Murray-Darling Basin. According to the budget published on the Australian government’s website (Department of Climate Change, Energy, The Environment and Water), about 800 million dollars are still to be invested in the project between late 2023 and 2024.
Many of the interventions carried out in recent years, and still ongoing, have focused on the construction of new water infrastructure and the modernization of old ones. Dams, hydraulic tunnels, water management plants have been built or refurbished to prevent excessive water resource dispersion and promote more rationed and sustainable use. The entire network of watercourses that make up its vast territory has been managed for years through a complex system of water basins, hydroelectric plants, and locks that allow the passage of vessels as well as the diversion of water to essential collection points for agriculture.
Protecting and using water to Australia's best advantage.
The commitment to protect the Murray-Darling Basin did not arise in recent years but has been renewed among various Australian states for over a century. The first agreement was signed in 1914 between New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria to sustainably manage and protect the waters of the Murray River and its basin. Since then, each state has contributed, including financially, to the protection interventions of this incredible water resource.
Today, more than ever, due to climate changes causing cyclical drought phenomena, in addition to the increasingly intensive presence of humans and their economic activities, water for Australia is a precious asset. Precisely for its better management, the Webuild Group, the lead company of the Future Generation joint venture (along with the American subsidiary Lane and the Australian Clough), is implementing Snowy 2.0. It is a network of hydroelectric plants that will increase the energy production of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme by 2,000 MW. The plant, located in the mountains of New South Wales, is currently the largest clean energy project in Australian history and, through proper water management, will ensure energy supply to three million households.