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Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Email: wcma@wcma.vic.gov.au
 
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00pm
(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)

Article

Wimmera Water for the Environment: Autumn Update

Apr 12, 2019

 
Autumn EWR UpdateWater for the Environment

THE DRY

The Wimmera couldn’t be a more perfect backdrop for global movie star Eric Bana and his entourage for filming of the internationally-bestselling Australian novel ‘The Dry’ right now.

The parched landscape Jane Harper transports us to in her novel creates drama and tension essential to the plot, and bringing her story to life here during our dry autumn is a stark reminder that the Wimmera environment is under pressure.

Since 2016 our region has experienced hotter and much drier than average weather conditions. The Wimmera River at Glenorchy hasn’t had natural flows for about 18 months. It’s drier than it was in the depths of the Millennium Drought in 2006, and is experiencing the longest period of no flows through the flow measurement gauge since its installation in 1964.

We’re starting to see the impacts with poor water quality and a lack of habitat in many waterways. Our focus is on protecting drought refuges – deep pools often shaded by large red gums and other trees. This is so our fish, platypuses, turtles, crayfish and frogs can persist and recover when conditions improve.

How we make every drop count

Through improved management, science and infrastructure of water for the environment, we continually aim to put our region in a much better place to deal with droughts. 

  • We work with community groups and councils to manage weir pool water levels and the timing of short periods of higher flow, which are important for mixing and diluting salty water and helping fish move between deep pools.
  • We reduce environmental flows to reflect drought conditions to preserve allocations for water the environment in subsequent years to target particular areas if it remains dry.
  • We have identified pools along the Wimmera River with potential to be supplied from the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline if there are long periods since they have experienced any flow.
  • We work with fish, platypus and vegetation scientists and the community to identify and monitor key refuge pools and the minimum flows needed to sustain them.  

Want to get involved?

Join our community wetland monitoring program, post any platypus sightings on PlatypusSPOT or tag us on social media when you’re outdoors - even if you just want to share your love of the Wimmera environment, because we love it too! 

CASE STUDY: KEEPING FISH ALIVE 

An environmental flow in a drying reach of the upper Mt William Creek between Lake Fyans and Lake Lonsdale is helping keep a valuable native fish population going until the sky delivers its next burst of natural flows.

“There’s a good population of fish in that Mokepilly area but because it’s not getting any inflows and is on the verge of going dry, we need the environmental water to hold breeding stock and enhance this fishery into the future. Rivers are where a lot of our fish breed and when it’s dry like this, and our lakes are in a bit of trouble, it’s important to keep our rivers healthy so they can keep producing good fish.” Lake Lonsdale Action Group member and Stawell Angling Club President Ray Howard

“In hard times fish numbers suffer, and from our most recent surveys this appears to be the case. When Wimmera CMA did the first environmental watering in 2015 and 2016 it helped the fish get through to the next breeding cycle, which maintained and boosted fish numbers. We hope we will see a similar result this time.” Environmental researcher Dion Iervasi, Austral Research and Consulting

READ FULL CASE STUDY

AUTUMN WATERING

Low flows and periods of no flow will continue for the MacKenzie River and Burnt Creek through to Wonwondah. Low flows are also taking place for the Wimmera River from Taylors Lake. We have delivered flows to refuge pools on the Mt William Creek to refill them and improve water quality.