Conditions in 2016–17 were very wet, particularly in winter/spring, and naturally high flows and some flooding helped the rivers and wetlands recover from the very dry conditions in 2015–16. Allocations reached 100 percent for the first time since 2011–12. While the catchments dried over summer/autumn, delivery of accumulated passing flows and environmental water helped to optimise the benefits achieved from natural flows, while still reserving a significant volume to carry over into 2017–18.
If 2017–18 has low rainfall, environmental watering in the Western Region will focus on protecting water quality to maintain habitat and build the resilience of in-stream native plants and animals. The carryover available going into 2017–18 will be particularly important in this scenario. Under wetter conditions, priority will be given to reserving water for use in 2018–19 and delivering some of the flow components that have not been possible in the lead-up to last year's wet conditions (like some of the winter/spring flow components). The focus of environmental watering in the Wimmera-Mallee wetlands will continue to be providing refuge within the dry landscape to support local plants and animals.
The Murray–Darling Basin Plan
he Wimmera system forms part of the larger Murray–Darling Basin and water diversions and environmental water deliveries in this region are also subject to the requirements of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.
he VEWH's environmental planning and delivery is consistent with the requirements of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan. The potential environmental watering outlined in section 4 of this seasonal watering plan fulfils Victoria's obligations under section 8.26 of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan to identify annual environmental watering priorities for Victoria's water resource areas.