Healthy Coorong, healthy basin

Mr Angus MacGregor1

1SA Department for Environment and Water


The impacts of water over-allocation across the Murray-Darling Basin, exacerbated by the Millennium Drought, have degraded the Ramsar-listed Coorong coastal lagoon to the point where it is at risk of losing some of the elements that make it an iconic wetland of international importance.

The concentration, abundance and distribution of many parameters and species have dramatically altered. Although the key ecological features of the Coorong that make it a unique and valuable place are still present, the system is in a vulnerable state, with little capacity to absorb continued and cumulative environmental stress.

In December 2018, in recognition of the importance of the Ramsar-listed Coorong to the health of the Murray-Darling Basin and to the success of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, as well as the declining condition of the Coorong South Lagoon, the Australian and South Australian governments committed $70 million to improve the long-term health of the Coorong.

The Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan aims to support the long-term health of the Coorong by providing evidence-based solutions to both immediate threats and future conditions anticipated under a changing climate. Targeted scientific investigations will inform more efficient and effective use of water available to protect the ecological character of the Coorong and, in partnership with local communities and First Nations, inform the development of long-term management solutions. These will be complemented by a suite of low-risk on-ground works to mitigate immediate threats and reduce the risk of further declines before long-term solutions are developed.


Angus MacGregor has extensive experience managing and integrating the science-policy interface – and the governance and delivery functions – of large, complex environmental programs at both the Commonwealth and State government levels. He is currently the Manager of the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin program in the South Australian Department for Environment and Water.