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Environmental watering in the Goulburn River 2011-13

Status: These actions have been completed.

19 April 2012 – watering action to January 2013

Up to 231,937 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available for use in the Goulburn River in Victoria between April 2012 and January 2013.

Environmental water will be used by local river managers in the Goulburn catchment to complement natural flows and support the on-going recovery of river-dependent native animals and plants. The agreed water use action will also contribute towards achieving multiple environmental benefits in the River Murray channel, Lower Lakes and Coorong.

In the short term, this watering action will contribute towards providing and maintaining fish refuge habitats for remnant native fish and other aquatic animals in the Murray River which are at risk due to hypoxic blackwater entering the system from the Murrumbidgee River. It is not expected that the water use will fully counteract the negative impacts of the hypoxic blackwater, however, the water has been made available on the basis that a contribution to improving the flows will assist with maintaining or improving aquatic habitat.

This action will complement other Commonwealth environmental watering actions being currently undertaken as part of an integrated approach to improving conditions in the wider Murray River catchment. Water is also being delivered in the:

This watering action will be managed by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority in cooperation with Goulburn-Murray Water, Victorian Environmental Water Holder, and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (River Murray Operations).

14 March 2012 – Update to watering action

Commonwealth environmental water deliveries were suspended on 27 February 2012 due to the large amount of rainfall in the catchment.

The watering action is currently being reviewed, taking into account catchment conditions.

11 November 2011 – Goulburn River

Up to 96.9 GL of environmental water has been made available for use in the Goulburn River in Victoria during 2011-12. Commonwealth environmental water will be delivered in conjunction with water from The Living Murray program to improve the health of the Goulburn River.

The priority for environmental water use in 2011-12 is to build on last year's flows that have contributed to restoration of the Goulburn River system, which followed ten or more years of drought.

The objectives for use of the water in 2011-12 are:

  1. Maintain base flows to:
    • Provide a range of slow shallow water and deep water habitat for fish, and create conditions for fish spawning and recruitment.
    • Provide habitat and food sources for macroinvertebrates by, for example, submersing snag habitat.
    • Maintain aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation on banks and bars.
  2. Provide pulse flows to:
    • Provide pre-spawning and movement cues for some native fish species such as golden perch.
    • Improve habitat for macroinvertebrates and native fish by disrupting biofilms, entraining litter packs as a food/habitat for macroinvertebrates and flushing fine sediments.
    • Promote dynamic and diverse food webs by improve planktonic algae production rates, biomass levels and community composition.
    • Provide pre-spawning and movement cues for some native fish species such as golden perch.
    • Contribute to geomorphic processes by maintaining natural rates of sediment mobilisation and deposition.

This watering action will be managed in cooperation with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Goulburn-Murray Water and the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.

This action will provide additional water to flows in South Australia to achieve environmental benefits in the Lower Murray River, the Lower Lakes and Coorong. These flows will contribute to flows over the barrages to improve water quality in the Lower Lakes and Coorong.

For more information about this watering action, please see: