Making a difference.
Backed by science.

The Flow-MER program team acknowledge and respect the Traditional Owners as the First Peoples of the lands and waters of the Murray Darling Basin.

We recognise their unique ability to care for Country and their deep spiritual connection to it. We honour Elders past and present whose knowledge and wisdom has ensured the continuation of culture and traditional practices.

We are committed to genuinely partner, and meaningfully engage, with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities to support the protection of Country, the maintenance of spiritual and cultural practices and their broader aspirations in the 21st century and beyond. In particular we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the seven Selected Areas where Flow-MER research is focussed.

The Flow-MER Program brings together scientists from some of Australia’s leading research institutions to study how plants and animals respond to water for the environment. Working alongside our scientists are local communities in seven areas (see map) across the Murray-Darling Basin, who enable our research to pair with real-life experience. Together, they measure the impact that Commonwealth water for the environment is having on the Murray-Darling Basin’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains.

Collaborative partnerships underpin the Flow-MER Program, and the knowledge generated will ensure water for the environment is used in the best way possible to support fish, waterbirds, wetlands and the whole river system.  We are also incorporating traditional ecological knowledge and practice into our work which is enabling us to develop a much deeper understanding about the connections between people, place and culture.

On this page we have brought together some of our latest stories for you to explore, as well as some further explanations about what water for the environment is, and the role of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

Thankyou for taking a look at what we do, we hope you feel inspired and interested in our work and welcome you to join us in caring for our Murray-Darling Basin.  If you would like to become part of our Flow-MER Program Community you can sign up to our free e-newsletter here.

What is water for the environment?

Rivers and wetlands have been changed to provide water for towns, industry and food production. This has interrupted the natural flow of water that plants and animals need to survive. With natural runoff from rainfall now captured in dams, rivers need to be actively managed to keep them healthy.

Water allocated to keep the river healthy is known as ‘water for the environment’. This water is carefully managed to ensure it delivers the best environmental outcomes, while benefiting river communities.

For more information, download the pocket guide to water for the environment.

What does the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder do?

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) decides when and where to deliver water for the environment in collaboration with other water managers, scientists, First Nations and local communities to ensure we are using the best available information.

Learn more about the CEWH here.

Latest updates from the Flow-MER Program

Why flows can help our fish

Flowing water is the lifeblood of all rivers and without it the rivers perish. The strong spring flow pulse is the heartbeat, many river animals depend on it.

Parts of our rivers are now like long skinny lakes rather than the free-flowing river it used to be. These changes have also meant that our native fish have less food, habitat to call home, and places to grow 🐟

Watch this video that shares more about how and why flow is being restored, supported by water for the environment, in rivers like the Lower Murray.

Share this page:


The information on this website is presented by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (the Department) for the purposes of disseminating information to the public. It does not constitute legal or other professional advice.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government or the Portfolio Ministers for the Department or indicate a commitment to a particular course of action.

While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the contents of this website are factually correct, the Commonwealth of Australia does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of its contents. The Department disclaims liability, to the extent permitted by law, for any liabilities, losses, damages and costs arising from any reliance on the contents of this website. You should seek legal or other professional advice in relation to your specific circumstances.

Use of this website is at a user’s own risk and the Department accepts no responsibility for any interference, loss, damage or disruption to your computer system which arises in connection with your use of this website or any linked website.