The Murrumbidgee River stretches for 1600 km and has average annual flows of around 4.4 million megalitres. The catchment is bounded by Cooma in the east, Balranald in the west, north to Temora and south to Henty.
The Murrumbidgee catchment region has one of the most diverse climates in New South Wales, ranging from the alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park and the Monaro plains, through to the rich grazing and grain belts of the southwest slopes and plains and the shrublands and grasslands of the semi-arid western Riverina. Covering an area of 84 000 sq km, the Murrumbidgee region is home to about 545 000 people with a population growth rate of 1.5 per cent per annum. Australia's capital, Canberra, with 314 000 people, and NSW's largest inland city of Wagga Wagga, with 57 000 people, are both situated within the catchment. Other major towns include Cooma, Queanbeyan, Yass, Tumut, Narrandera, Griffith, Hay and Balranald.
A wide range of community interests and organisations contribute to natural resource management (NRM), including industry groups, corporations, Landcare groups, non-government organisations such as Greening Australia, government agencies, local government and numerous community groups. Within its boundaries there are 30 local government areas having all or part of their region in the catchment.
Situated in the lower Murrumbidgee catchment are the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and the Coleambally Irrigation Area. These irrigation areas have more than 10 000 km of irrigation channels. The irrigation industry provides 25 per cent of the state's fruit and vegetable production, 42 per cent of its grapes and half of Australia's rice production. Other major industries in the catchment include:
- dryland agriculture
- beef production
- intensive poultry production
- sheep and wool
- cropping and softwood plantations
Agricultural production is worth in excess of $1.9 billion annually.
Sites of international ecological significance include the Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps and the Lowbidgee Wetlands.
Biodiversity summaries and species lists for the Murrumbidgee region have been produced by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts using the Australian Heritage Assessment Tool.
For information visit: Biodiversity summaries and species lists for natural resource management regions
Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority manages this region.
For more information visit: www.murrumbidgee.cma.nsw.gov.au