The health and sustainability of the MDB system is critical to SA, and CSIRO scientific studies confirm that a minimum of 3200GL a year must be returned to ensure the health of the river, he said.
“Basin Ministers will be working together to deliver the implementation plan for the MDB, which was required by the Prime Minister and Premiers at the last COAG meeting,” he said.
Mr Hunter said the future of the Murray-Darling River system was of critical economic, environment and social value to basin communities and to all of SA.
“The River Murray is not only a crucial part of our economy but a place where South Australians holiday and play, an attraction for tourists and underpins drinking water supplies for South Australians,” he said.
“Those who question the need to return the full 450GL of water back to the system do not understand the risks to our environment if we fail to deliver, especially in light of the changing climate.
“Recent reports by other state governments suggesting a need to review the Basin Plan’s socioeconomic impact on river communities are not an argument to suspend the plan.
“Rather, they are an argument to ensure river communities are properly supported during the Plan implementation.
“The SA government is committed to ensuring we have sustainable, healthy river system for our state and for our nation. “
The Basin Plan agreed in 2012 aims for water recovery outcomes equivalent to 3200GL a year by 2024. This includes the extra 450GL negotiated by SA.
Mr Hunter said the water was needed to keep the Murray mouth open, to reduce salinity in the Coorong and Lower Lakes, and increase flows to Coorong to ensure the ongoing health of the internationally renowned RAMSAR site.