Department Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities - November 2010
The Snowy River is naturally fast flowing, with its headwaters running from Mount Kosciuszko, Australia's highest peak.
However, regulation of the river has reduced flows to less than one per cent of the original volume.
The dwindling flows have left sediment to build up over the riverbed and smother habitat for aquatic plants and animals.
The Australian, New South Wales and Victorian governments are working to restore the river's mighty flows and the aquatic habitats they support.
Snowy River environmental watering facts:
- In 2002 the Australian, New South Wales and Victorian Government signed an historic agreement that set a target of returning 21 per cent of the Snowy River's natural flow by 2012.
- Since 2002, 251 billion litres have been released as environmental flow from storages along the Snowy River.
- In the 2010/11 water year, 71 billion litres of environmental water will be released to the Snowy River.
- Over 10 days in November 2010, almost 17 billion litres of water was released from Jindabyne Dam - the largest controlled environmental water release to the Snowy River since the dam's construction in 1967. This will be followed up in April 2011 with a further water release of almost seven billion litres.
- The November 2010 release simulates the Snowy River's naturally high spring flow events, caused by snowmelt running off the mountains at the river's headwaters. The intense spring flows dislodge sediment build up from the river bed.
- The Australian, New South Wales and Victorian governments have also committed to repaying the Mowamba Borrowing Account. The Mowamba Borrowing Account represents water that was borrowed from other users of the Snowy Scheme to provide for environmental flows to the Snowy River between 2002 and 2006.
- The repayment of the Mowamba Borrowing Account, along with increased seasonal water allocations, will result in a significant increase in the amount of water available to the Snowy River into the future.
A spectacular surge of river water is set free of its dam enclosure ... it's the largest release the thirsty stretch of the Snowy River below has seen for more than 40 years.
With the regulation of the river, flows dwindled, leaving sediment to build up over the riverbed and smother habitat for aquatic plants and animals.
The Australian, New South Wales and Victorian governments are working to restore the Snowy River's mighty flows and the aquatic habitats they support downstream.
The recent release of almost 17 billion litres of water over 10 days will dislodge sediment from the river bed and flush out algal growths left to thrive in stagnant pools.
The release will be followed by a further release of almost seven billion litres in April 2011.
Thanks to an agreement between the three governments, water cascading from Jindabyne Dam wall will be a feature of the Snowy River for years to come.