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Environmental water release to Tarago River

Melbourne Water, in partnership with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH), will commence an environmental water release to the lower Tarago River system on 1 March.

Otherwise known as a 'fresh', the release will improve habitat for aquatic life and will enhance the river's health.

Why is this needed?

The recent weather has seen flows remain low in the river, which means available habitat for aquatic species has been reduced.

The release will also refresh the system by flushing sediment and organic material from the river bed. This will help maintain habitat for bugs and fish, and will ensure native vegetation along the bank receives enough water.

A significant population of Australian grayling, a nationally listed threatened species, will also benefit from the extra flows which allow them to move to areas that are usually cut off during periods of lower flow.

What does this involve?

Melbourne Water will release up to 700 million litres of water from 1 March over a 10 day period from Tarago Reservoir into the Tarago River system, to improve water flow along the river and into the lower Bunyip River.

During the release, river levels between the Tarago Reservoir and the estuary may be up to 30-40 cm higher, which is within the river's usual level of variance.

Detailed planning and close monitoring of water levels will be undertaken during the entire release period.

Melbourne Water is working with the VEWH and other stakeholders to monitor the response of the river and aquatic life closely following the event to inform future releases. The VEWH prioritised this water release as part of its Seasonal Watering Plan 2016-17, which aims to improve river and wetland health across Victoria.

Further Information

Sarah Gaskill
Senior Environmental Water Planner 
Tel: 03 9679 7045

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Page last updated: 12/12/19