Water flows into Hattah Lakes
05 September 2016
Environmental watering is underway at Hattah Lakes, taking advantage of high flows in the River Murray. For the past three weeks, river flows in the River Murray have been high enough to naturally enter Chalka Creek, giving native aquatic plants and animals the opportunity to move between the river and the lakes.
To top up this natural inundation, the pumps have been turned on to ensure water fills most lakes in the system and reaches the red gums surrounding the lakes.
"The higher river flows we've seen recently have provided natural connectivity that is really important for the Hattah Lakes system," Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Chair Sharyon Peart said.
"By pumping water into the lakes now, we can access some of the unregulated flows currently in the system, while also delivering water to the level required to top up the lakes and reach the fringing red gums.
"The environmental regulators will remain closed to hold that water in the system for about four weeks, which will provide the red gums with a good drink prior to the hot summer months."
It's expected the pumping will deliver up to 35GL throughout September, before the regulators are opened in November to release approximately 5GL back to the river.
The watering is being coordinated by the Mallee CMA, in partnership with Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Goulburn-Murray Water, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.
Initially, unregulated flows will be pumped into Hattah Lakes as allowed under entitlements created several years ago to recognise Victoria's history of using unregulated flows to divert water to wetlands. However, if the high flows recede, environmental water is available through the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to complete the event.
"Parks Victoria has had a positive community response to the watering. School groups and visitors plan to kayak on the lakes while visting the area in September," Ms Peart said.
"We hope to see an increase in visitors especially with their kayaks this spring. Hattah ia a fantastic destination as this watering takes place."
There may be some changes to access in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park during the watering event, which will be updated regularly on the Parks Victoria website.
Updates on the watering will be provided regularly on the Mallee CMA's Facebook page and on Twitter @MalleeCMA or @HattahLakes.
Mallee Catchment Management Authority
03 5051 4377