Mallee Catchment Management Authority

The Mallee CMA region covers 3.9 million hectares – about one fifth of Victoria.  It is the largest catchment area in the state and runs along the Murray River from Nyah to the South Australian border, through areas of high-value irrigated horticulture and National Parks, and south through vast dryland cropping areas and public reserves to Wimmera.

The Mallee contains some 1,600 km of river assets which can be divided into three distinct groups according to the river basin in which they are located; the Mallee, Avoca or Wimmera Basin1. The Mallee Basin contains the Murray River which forms the northern boundary of the region, as well as the boundary between Victoria and New South Wales (NSW). While the main river channel lies in NSW, Victoria is responsible for the management of its southern floodplain from the 1881 winter level water mark, which within the Mallee represents some 731 km of Murray River frontage. There is also 555 km of Murray River anabranches and tributaries within the Mallee Basin, the main systems being Lindsay River and Wallpolla Creek in the north-west of the region.

There are some 900 wetlands in the Mallee, occupying almost 50,000 ha. Mallee wetlands are diverse and include: riverine wetlands, natural saline wetlands fed by groundwater, shallow depressions in the south of the region filled by local catchment run-off, and artificially maintained wetlands such as the Cardross Lakes and Koorlong Basins.

The Mallee is home to over 61,000 people. The largest centre is Mildura and its surrounds (Irymple, Merbein and Red Cliffs), which with almost 40,000 people represents the key service and economic hub of the region. Other population centres of the region; including Robinvale, Ouyen, Sea Lake, Hopetoun, Murrayville and Birchip; make up about 15% of the population.

Five municipalities are part of the Mallee – Mildura Rural City Council, Swan Hill Rural City Council, Buloke Shire Council, Yarriambiak Shire Council and Hindmarsh Shire Council.

Citizen science programs include Waterwatch and Birdata.