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Watering the environment the best way we know how

When you're sitting on the banks of the Murray River, it's easy to forget that the water flowing past might not be there due to recent rain. Chances are it's there because it's been intentionally released from upstream to benefit plants and animals.

When you're sitting on the banks of the Murray River, it's easy to forget that the water flowing past might not be there due to recent rain. Chances are it's there because it's been intentionally released from upstream to benefit plants and animals.

These releases don't just happen - a lot of research goes into understanding how best to use water for the benefit of the environment.

About 20 per cent of water held in Victoria's water storages is distributed back to the environment - this is called environmental water.

Three environmental water entitlement holders across Victoria help to decide where and how to release water into rivers, creeks and wetlands for the benefit of plants and animals. The releases are based on the best available plant, animal and water science, adjusted throughout the year depending on the season.

Some of the best scientists, managers and policy makers working in environmental water management gathered at the two day Victorian Environmental Water Forum to share their perspectives.

Studies in the Murray-Darling catchment asked participants to consider environmental water management to support golden perch across more than one river system. Another presentation showed that peak spawning by the threatened Australian grayling fish coincided with environmental water releases, while other research demonstrated the benefits of using environmental water to connect floodplains to help fish populations.

Studies in the Goulburn Broken catchment highlighted the need for environmental water to support water bird breeding and how it is being used to protect Victoria's emblems in the Yarra Valley.

Partners in environmental water delivery, the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation outlined their work assessing the cultural values of waterways in western and northern Victoria and discussed the role cultural knowledge has in managing environmental water.

Sharing this information helps to distribute water to the environment as efficiently and effectively as possible. It also goes a long way to understanding the role environmental water has on people who use waterways for recreation and tourism.The Forum was organised by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, the Arthur Rylah Institute and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.

Further Information

If you want to know more call Courtney Johnson on 03 9637 8914 or email Courtney.johnson@vewh.vig.gov.au.

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