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Summer fresh for the Yarra River

Melbourne Water is delivering an environmental water release, or 'summer fresh', to the Yarra River over the next two weeks to improve habitat for aquatic life and enhance the river's health.

Image of a river blackfishMelbourne Water is delivering an environmental water release, or 'summer fresh', to the Yarra River over the next two weeks to improve habitat for aquatic life and enhance the river's health.

This will be only the second time the river has received more than its minimum flow since the environmental water allocation was reinstated in October 2010.

In addition to supplying much of Melbourne's water needs, 17 billion litres of Yarra River water is reserved annually for environmental flows. Up to 600 million litres of this will be released over a two week period from various reservoirs in the Yarra basin to benefit the section of river between Millgrove and Heidelberg. The operation of Yering pump station will also be altered during this process to maximise natural flows.

Environmental flows aim to mimic a river's natural process. In this instance the release will assist in the migration of fish species, which can become isolated in river pools during periods of reduced flow.  It will also help flush fine sediment and organic material from the river bed, maintain habitat for bugs and fish life, and ensure native vegetation along the river bank receives adequate water during the summer months.

Among the species expected to benefit from the increased environmental flows are the regionally significant River Blackfish, juvenile Australian grayling, Macquarie Perch and Platypus. Good spring flows last year made it possible for juvenile grayling to migrate upstream from the bay to Warrandyte, where they were identified last month.

Melbourne Water is working with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and other stakeholders to deliver this release, inline with the Seasonal Watering Plan 2011-12. Melbourne Water will also monitor the response of the river and aquatic life closely following the event to inform future releases.

Further Information

Kathy Cogo, Communication Coordinator
E: Kathy.cogo@vewh.vic.gov.au
Tel: 03 9637 8854 or 0466 015 183.

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