Victoria’s waterways ready to flow with the release of the VEWH’s seasonal watering plan
01 July 2020
Victorians are set to enjoy the flow-on benefits of water for the environment with many of the state’s waterways to receive much-needed environmental water deliveries over the next year.
The Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) today launched its Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-2021, setting out where and when water for the environment is planned to be delivered to rivers and wetlands across Victoria under different climate scenarios – including drought, dry, average and wet. This water has been legally set aside in environmental water entitlements that are held and managed by the VEWH. Environmental water entitlements are subject to the same seasonal allocations as equivalent entitlements held by other water users.
In releasing the seasonal watering plan, VEWH Co-CEO Beth Ashworth said that despite recent rainfall easing dry conditions, environmental watering was still critical to protect waterway health.
“Planning for all climate scenarios allows us to quickly respond to emerging conditions to get the best environmental outcomes we can, no matter what,” Ms Ashworth said.
Water for the environment protects river health by improving water quality and providing vital habitat for plants and animals, such as platypus, native fish and waterbirds. Healthy waterways benefit our communities, including for recreation and wellbeing.
The plan is underpinned by rigorous science and local knowledge from across the Gippsland, central, western and northern regions of Victoria.
This year’s plan also delivers on changes to the Water Act 1989 which, for the first time in Victoria, enshrined in law consideration of recreational and Aboriginal values in all water management.
Rueben Berg, VEWH Commissioner and Gunditjmara man, has long championed to increase the voice of Aboriginal people in water to achieve better outcomes for all Victorians.
“Traditional Owner participation in environmental watering has increased every year. This year’s plan showcases some great examples of traditional ecological knowledge being used, and Traditional Owners delivering and monitoring watering events that will help restore Country,” he said.
Matthew Burns, Chief Executive Officer of the Taungurung Land and Waters Council, is pleased to see the consideration of Taungurung knowledge, values and objectives in this year’s plan.
“These steps towards stronger partnerships are crucial to improving water management and outcomes on Taungurung Country”, he said.
“Our work with Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, the VEWH and local land holders to bring water to Horseshoe Lagoon is one example of where we are working together to restore habitats, protect cultural values and heal Country.”
“I look forward to continuing to build on these successes and extending these outcomes to other significant sites over time” said Mr Burns.
The Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21 can be found here.