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Environmental water delivery: Loddon River

Commonwealth Environmental Water, 2011

Environmental Water Delivery: Loddon River collates current knowledge of the operational and administrative arrangements for the delivery of environmental water to the Loddon River and provides an overview of the environmental assets and potential environmental water use options for the catchment. This work has been undertaken to support the efficient and effective use of environmental water and to engage communities on how this may best be achieved. This aims to encourage community discussion and feedback on the use of environmental water, to identify future opportunities and recognise operational risks and constraints. Comments on the document are encouraged and can be provided to:ewater@environment.gov.au.

Introduction

Increased volumes of environmental water are now becoming available in the Murray-Darling Basin and this will allow a larger and broader program of environmental watering. It is particularly important that managers of environmental water seek regular input and suggestions from the community as to how we can achieve the best possible approach. As part of the consultation process for Commonwealth environmental water we will be seeking information on:

  • community views on environmental assets and the health of these assets
  • views on the prioritisation of environmental water use
  • potential partnership arrangements for the management of environmental water
  • possible arrangements for the monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) of environmental water use.

This document has been prepared to provide information on the environmental assets and potential environmental water use in the Loddon River and four Boort district wetlands.

Both the Loddon River and Boort district wetlands support flora and fauna of international, national, regional and local conservation significance, including two waterbirds listed under international agreements. Potential water use options for the Loddon River include the provision of a winterspring high bankfull flow along Reach 4 to avoid the build-up of organic matter, maintain riparian vegetation condition and support natural geomorphologic processes; as well as provision of a spring fresh to create habitat variability for macrophytes and macroinvertebrates. Options for the Boort wetlands include the provision of water to complete the desired filling and drying pattern to maintain/rehabilitate the health of aquatic plant communities and fringing vegetation.

A key aim in undertaking this work was to prepare scalable water use strategies that maximise the efficiency of water use and anticipate different climatic circumstances. Operational opportunities and constraints have been identified and delivery options prepared. This has been done in a manner that will assist the community and environmental water managers in considering the issues and developing multi-year water use plans.

The work has been undertaken by consultants on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Previously prepared work has been drawn upon and discussions have occurred with organisations such as the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, Goulburn-Murray Water, North Central Catchment Management Authority, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and the Murray- Darling Basin Authority.

Management of environmental water will be an adaptive process. There will always be areas of potential improvement. Comments and suggestions including on possible partnership arrangements are very welcome and can be provided directly to: ewater@environment.gov.au. Further information about Commonwealth environmental water can be found at Commonwealth Environmental Water website.