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Angling and football identity Rex Hunt, who is a regular visitor to Wimmera waterways, said “Just like country footy and netball clubs, the Wimmera River connects communities and towns, helps them prosper and makes them great places to visit and live.”

A study into the value of water for the environment revealed the Wimmera River contributed $4.75 million to the economy in 2017, with fishing competitions providing major boosts – events which directly benefit from water for the environment.

The study found that Horsham Fishing Competition on the Labour Day long weekend and Jeparit’s Easter fishing event result in significant expenditure and reports of increased sales by many businesses.

Brett Ireland, from the Jeparit Angling Club, said environmental flows mean the river, and their town, survives.

“The Jeparit Fishing Comp is vital to our town and businesses. The flows enable us to host a successful event, and the town gets quite busy and everyone benefits.”

Wimmera angler Chris Spence said the region sees some great benefits for the anglers and overall health of the river as a result of water for the environment.

“We’ve seen firsthand what these environmental flows do when timed right. They’re an absolute bonus to anglers. It keeps the water moving, keeps the river free of salt and, when flows are on, we see a spark in activity as anglers can explore more water,” he said.

2018 Horsham Fishing Competition

Michael and Tanner Stasinowsky at the 2018 Horsham Fishing Competition, by Paul Carracher, The Weekly Advertiser