South Australia's diverse coastal and marine environments are a valuable community resource, providing recreation and pleasure for residents and tourists alike. In addition, these resources are of great biological and economic value to the State.
The coastline of South Australia extends 4,250 km (excluding the islands) and ranges from the rocky shores and sandy beaches of the South East and West Coast to the extensive calm water mud flats, seagrass and mangrove habitats in the gulf regions. Our nearshore territorial waters, which extend over 60,000 km2, show a wide range of variability across surface sea temperatures, salinities and oceanographic conditions (eg currents, upwellings, gulfs). This variability provides for a broad range of habitats and many ecological niches, which are used for a variety of commercial purposes including sea transport, mineral and petroleum exploration, and commercial fishing and aquaculture. SA Memory
South Australians live in the 'driest state in the driest inhabited continent in the world'. The Murray has been called South Australia's 'lifeline', as this major waterway provides the majority of the population with water for irrigation, industry and domestic demands.
Downstream the State Library's website dedicated to the River Murray
Although the Murray is South Australia's most important river other waterways have also played a vital role in the State's development. Since 1836 there have major changes to some, such as changing of the course, flood mitigation programs and damming. Some watercourses have changed so much that at some sections of their course they seem more drain than river or creek. SA Memory
The Great Artesian Basin is the lifeline of the north as it supplies the pastoral and mining industries and communities with water in the driest zone of South Australia. Extending from Marla in the west, to Marree and Dubbo (NSW) in the south, the Great Dividing Range in the east and Cape York to the north, the Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest artesian basins in the world. It covers an area of 1,711,000 square kilometres or 23% of the Australian continent. The South Australian portion covers an area of 376,000 square kilometres which is 38% of the State. The total volume of water stored in the basin has been estimated at 8700 million megalitres. SA Memory
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