Water for the Environment – Thomson and Macalister Rivers

Rivers in central Gippsland will receive something of a ‘top up’ this week with the release of waters as part of the ‘Water for the Environment’ program.

“The Thomson and Macalister Rivers will receive around 4,500 megalitres and 5,700 megalitres respectively over the next four weeks,” said CEO of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Mr Martin Fuller.

Water for the Environment is managed by the WGCMA in partnership with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.

“Both the Thomson and the Macalister have been modified over the years which has held back some of the natural flow for such things as drinking water as well as water for use in industry and on the land via irrigation,” added Mr Fuller.

“These waterways need flows to assist the health of the river-banks as well as to assist fish migration. What we do, after assessing the rivers and speaking with stakeholders, is to release environmental flows into the rivers to promote these outcomes.”

“We’re aware that people may wonder about the timings of these releases, being in such a dry period. We’ve seen very dry conditions this season and consequently these waterways are under stress. It’s important to recognise that even in wet years, our rivers and wetlands have seen reduced flows since dams were built. So we use water for the environment to build the resilience of the rivers so they, and the plants and animals that rely on them, can better cope with the dry conditions,” concluded Mr Fuller.

The releases will have no impact on irrigation supply and will be managed to be well below minor flood levels.

Flows for the Latrobe and Tanjil Rivers have been delayed due to recent rains. These waterways will be monitored over coming weeks and the public will be informed if any Water for the Environment flows will be released.

People who would like to be kept informed of water releases under the Water for the Environment program can sign up to receive notifications by SMS or email at wgcma.vic.gov.au

Published Wednesday November 6th 2019