Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, March 2010
During 2010, just over 11 billion litres of environmental water has been pumped into Hattah Lakes, inundating an area of approximately 586 hectares and filling Lake Lockie, Little Hattah, Lake Hattah, Lake Yerang and Chalka Creek South.
The Murray River has historically provided periodic water to the 20 freshwater lakes of Hattah Lakes National Park. Hattah Lakes, like many rivers, floodplains and wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin, are suffering from many years of drought, river regulation and over extraction. Without the provision of environmental water the lakes would be dry.
Over half of the water provided to Hattah Lakes was acquired by the Australian Government under the long-term Water for the Future initiative.
The balance was provided by the Victorian Government and The Living Murray program (a partnership of the Commonwealth, Victorian, New South Wales, South Australian and ACT governments).
V/O: Hattah-Kulkyne Lakes in north-west Victoria is an internationally important wetland, listed under the Ramsar Convention. The Murray River has historically fed the twenty freshwater lakes of the National Park.
After a long drought and a lot of water being taken from the Murray River, the natural flow of water to the lakes has changed. Without enough water, the lakes are at risk of becoming very unhealthy. This threatens the survival of the plants and animals living in and around the lakes.
These stressed river red gum forests that surround the wetlands provide habitat for many bird species, some of which migrate from the northern hemisphere each year.
The Australian and Victorian Governments, The Living Murray program and the Mallee Catchment Management Authority have been working together to provide environmental water to the lakes.
To help make these lakes healthy again, enough water to fill over 4000 swimming pools was delivered to the lakes. Water was transported using pumps and pipes set up for the special delivery. The water covered 586 hectares of wetlands.
Green shoots have begun to appear on the river red gums on the edges of the lakes.
Many benefits from the environmental water can already be seen with insect life thriving and grasses, rushes and lilies springing to life.
Swans and a variety of duck species, have begun returning to the lakes and birds and frogs are breeding. Waterbirds in their thousands have been seen since the watering. Corellas, cockatoos and galahs have also been recorded. Regent parrots, listed as threatened under the national environment law have also been spotted.
More water was proviced to Hattah-Kulkyne Lakes in Autumn 2010.
The Australian Government will continue to buy water and deliver it to wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin to help protect or restore them.