Ngarrindjeri are the traditional owners of the Ruwe (Country), waters and Yarluwar-Ruwe (Sea Country) of the Lower River Murray, Coorong and Lower Lakes in South Australia. The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority, the peak regional organisation of the Ngarrindjeri, began a partnership with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office in 2016 with the aim of delivering water to culturally and environmentally significant sites.
In March and April 2019, the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority delivered 500 megalitres of Commonwealth environmental water to Teringie wetlands, alongside Lake Alexandrina. These wetlands are culturally significant for the Ngarrindjeri. Teringie is the Ngarrindjeri name for “burial ground”, with two significant sites in the wetland. These wetlands are historically known as the “supermarket”, providing swan eggs, fish and many other food resources for the community. Native reeds are still used by women for basket weaving and the wetland is an important meeting place for recreation.
With support from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority successfully planned and delivered this water, and continue to observe how the environment is responding. Jody Swirepik, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder noted, “Working with Ngarrindjeri people means local knowledge and cultural values are incorporated into the delivery of environmental flows. It is great to see our water benefit culturally significant species such as swans, pelicans and turtles”.
The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority are the first Aboriginal nation in the Basin to enter into a formal partnership with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office. This arrangement creates a process for the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority to submit proposals for the use of Commonwealth environmental water each year. To transfer the environmental water into the wetlands, Working on Country Rangers from Raukkan have negotiated a unique partnership with Coates Engineering to provide the pumping infrastructure for the flows.
A working partnership between the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority is improving the health of Ngarrindjeri land and waters.
Filling of Teringie wetlands using Coates pumping infrastructure, provided as an in-kind private sector contribution.
Teringie wetlands slowly filling with 500 megalitres of water for the environment.