Working together to bring water to the Moorabool River
06 May 2019
To help combat dry conditions and improve river health and habitat for native fish, the VEWH recently secured and subsequently released an additional one-off exchange of 500 megalitres of water for the environment into the Moorabool River.
The release was welcomed by the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation (Wadawurrung) and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority who worked with the VEWH, DELWP and Central Highlands Water to secure the water through a trial exchange.
Continuing dry conditions have meant water for the environment has been prioritised to provide low flows and help prevent fish deaths in the lower reaches of the Moorabool River.
The water will provide flows to the Moorabool River to connect habitats along the river and improve water quality.
“The Moorabool river is very dependent on seasonal rainfall,” VEWH Co-Chief Executive Officer Beth Ashworth said.
“Following almost two years of dry conditions, the VEWH identified the potential need for more water for the Moorabool in our 2018-19 Trade Strategy.
“Being able to secure this one-off water will make sure the river can keep functioning, stay connected, and support the native fish, waterbugs and plants that depend on it.”
Given the continuing dry conditions, the VEWH is still looking at additional options to support environmental water availability for next year.
Ms Ashworth said the Moorabool River was highly valued by local communities.
“The Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, representing the Wadawurrung people, and Corangamite CMA highlighted to us how securing water for the Moorabool after the long dry we have been experiencing would achieve not only ecological benefits, but also social and cultural benefits,” she said.
“We worked together with Central Highlands Water to secure the water, Barwon Water to maximise benefits through timing the release with the release of water for consumption, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to make this happen.”
“The exchange is evidence of the strong regional partnership approach that exists between waterway managers and entitlement holders, and how working together can achieve positive environmental, social and cultural benefits.”
At a special ceremony the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners joined community and agency representatives to celebrate the extra water and Wadawurrung knowledge of waterway management. The Wadawurrung Traditional Owners demonstrated how a Buniya Binak (traditional hand-woven eel trap) would have been used in the river by previous generations.
About the Moorabool River:
- The Moorabool River is a tributary of the Barwon River, flowing south from the Central Highlands between Ballarat and Ballan to join the Barwon at Fyansford.
- The river retains significant environmental values despite being highly regulated with major storages including Lal Lal, Moorabool and Bostock reservoirs.
- The Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation is the Registered Aboriginal Party in the region.
- Water for Victoria identifies the Moorabool River as a priority for restoration.