Water

Flow blueprint released

By Country News

Rivers and wetlands across Victoria will benefit from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s statewide plan for environmental watering in 2018-19.

This will be Victoria’s eighth watering plan, providing the blueprint for delivering water to the environment for healthy waterways.

‘‘Environmental flows over the year will provide big benefits for plants, animals and communities,’’ VEWH chair Denis Flett said.

‘‘Victorians are passionate about their rivers and wetlands, with 95 per cent using them for recreation such as camping, bird watching, swimming, boating and fishing,’’ he said.

‘‘These environments, and the plant and animal life they sustain, are for everyone to enjoy.’’

Mr Flett said there were 19 systems of rivers and wetlands across Victoria that had the potential to receive water in 2018-19.

‘‘In the previous watering year of 2017-18, all 19 systems, including a total of 43 rivers or creeks and 85 wetlands, were provided with environmental flows to maintain or improve the health of the ecosystem,’’ he said.

The VEWH and local waterway managers in each region of Victoria have considered a range of factors to determine environmental watering under different conditions.

This includes watering site condition, climate and water availability, the best available science, community input, and shared benefits for communities and traditional owners.

‘‘For the 2018-19 watering year, most river systems still have good volumes of water for the environment in reserve, which provides opportunities to build the resilience of plants and animals so they can withstand any future dry years,’’ Mr Flett said.

‘‘If 2018-19 continues to be a dry year, then water for the environment may be scarce in some systems such as the Loddon River and the Werribee River.’’

■The Seasonal Watering Plan 2018-19 is available at: www.vewh.vic.gov.au/watering-program/seasonal-watering-plan