Birchs Creek is a tributary of the Loddon River located in the southern-most part of the catchment. The creek rises in the ranges north- east of Ballarat and flows north-west through Newlyn and Smeaton before joining Tullaroop Creek near Clunes. The lower parts of the catchment are extensively cleared where the creek meanders through an incised basaltic valley. The creek contains a regionally significant platypus community and a vulnerable river blackfish population.
Birchs Creek is part of the broader Bullarook system which contains two small storages — Newlyn Reservoir and Hepburn Lagoon — which provide water for irrigation and urban supply. The storages fill and spill during winter or spring in years with average or above-average rainfall.
Birchs Creek receives tributary inflows from Rocky Lead, Langdons, Lawrence and Tourello creeks. Groundwater provides reliable baseflows to the downstream reaches of Birchs Creek in most years.
The VEWH is allocated 100 ML in Newlyn Reservoir on 1 December each year, provided that seasonal determinations in the Bullarook system are at least 20 percent. Any unused allocation from 1 December can be carried over until 30 November of the following water year, but if Newlyn Reservoir spills from 1 July to 30 November, the volume held in carryover is lost. Any water remaining on 30 November is forfeited. When seasonal determinations are below 20 percent, the VEWH does not receive an allocation, and the system’s resources are shared equitably to protect critical human and environmental needs.