Wet start to irrigation season

Mid-August saw the very wet start of the Southern Rural Water (SRW) irrigation season in Gippsland. 

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s, Environmental Water Resource Officer, Dr Stephanie Suter said it was great to see well above average rainfalls and inflows into Lake Glenmaggie in July and August. 

“It’s been so wet that SRW storage operators have been managing the storage levels at Lake Glenmaggie since July,” explained Dr Suter. “This means that they have been releasing water from Glenmaggie and the Macalister River has been flowing at a higher level over a longer time. 

“This has been great for the river as it mimics a more natural river flow and wets vegetation on the banks of rivers. We’ve also been able to save our water for the environment releases for later in the year.” 

Water for the environment is water managed, stored and released to maintain the health of rivers and wetlands. This water is released into rivers as per a seasonal watering plan, developed by WGCMA and approved by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH).  

“As always, we work with VEWH and SRW to be adaptive at how we deliver water for the environment,” continued Dr Suter. “This extremely wet winter and start to spring, gives us the opportunity to deliver water for the environment a little bit differently. 

“Irrigation demand has obviously been low, given the catchment is quite wet and on-farm dams are likely to be pretty full. When the demand increases there will be varying river height that could include irrigation orders and also water for the environment flows. 

“At this stage though we’re not expecting to release any water for the environment until late spring. This flow will be timed to help stimulate native fish migration, trigger plants to seed and germinate and improving water quality in the lower Latrobe estuary.”  

For more information about water for the environment, or to subscribe to be notified when water for the environment is released, please visit our website.  

 

Published on 23 September 2020