The forthcoming Murray-Darling Basin Plan is a once-in-a-life time opportunity to restore the ailing river system, more than 30 of Australia's leading freshwater scientists argue in a statement to the Federal Government.

"We really have to get this right," says a spokesman for the group, Professor Richard Kingsford, Director of UNSW's Australian Wetlands and Rivers Centre. "We owe it to the Australian people and to the Basin's environment."

The signatories to the statement, representing Australia's top experts in the field, express cautious support for the draft Basin Plan to be released by the Federal Government in the next few months. They note that the plan will provide the overarching direction for managing the Basin's rivers and for sustainable levels of water diversion. This will be done by identifying key environmental assets and determining their water needs.

But the scientists identify nine points they believe will need to be addressed for the plan to fulfill its potential. These include an acknowledgement that the system cannot be seen as a series of isolated sites for management of water.

Read the full story at the Faculty of Science newsroom.

Media contacts: Professor Richard Kingsford | 0419 634 215 |;Bob Beale, UNSW Faculty of Science |0411 705 435 |