Salty to fresh
17 February 2017
After a cooler than average summer, Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is about to release the second environmental water flow in the Glenelg River for the 2016/ 2017 summer period.
Glenelg Hopkins CMA Water Manager Bryce Morden said late summer fresh of up to 200 megalitres per day over a seven-day period starting February 21 will mean good things for the Glenelg River and its users.
"Through summer, pools in the Glenelg River north of Casterton fill up from the bottom with salty groundwater. This fresh will flush that out, improving water quality for the environment and farmers that use the water for stock," he said.
"We've measured that a late summer fresh can reduce salinity by up to a factor of ten. This can be the difference between water being useable or not."
He said it wasn't just water users that would benefit from the flow - but the health of the entire river.
"Releasing water at the end of summer gives the river a much-needed drink," he said.
"Rivers need water to keep them alive just like we need water to keep our bodies hydrated and healthy."
"If we are thirsty our bodies can't function, we become tired and weak. Rivers are the same - as the water levels decline, the levels of salt and other toxins increase. Native animals, such as platypus, and native fish become stressed and cease reproducing. In really dry years they can even die."
"That's why late summer water releases are so important."
Balmoral farmer, avid fisherman and member of GHCMA advisory board Justin Weaver said the lowered salinity was not just good for his stock, it was good for fishing.
"The fishing side of things is superb," he said.
"The freshes keep the salinity levels in check, which means we've got active fish in the river to target over summer."
"Now we can go fishing because there's water there, there's flow there and the salinity levels aren't skyrocketing."
The environmental water release will raise river heights by around 30 to 50 cm in the upper Glenelg as it passes.
The water release is expected to reach the Balmoral-Natimuk Rd on February 27, Harrow on March 1 and Casterton on March 8.
The flow is in line with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder's Seasonal Watering Plan 2016-17.
To be notified about when environmental water is to be released from Rocklands Reservoir you can subscribe to an SMS subscription service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternately you can check www.storagemanager.com.au for information on all the Grampian's water storages.
Glenelg Hopkins CMA
Tel: 03 5571 2526