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4.1 Western region overview
The systems in the western region that can receive water from the VEWH’s environmental entitlements are the Glenelg River, the Wimmera River system and the Wimmera-Mallee wetlands. The Wimmera River system and Wimmera-Mallee wetlands are part of the Murray-Darling Basin, although the Wimmera River ends in terminal lakes without directly flowing into the Murray River.
Water for the environment in the western region is supplied from the Wimmera-Mallee headworks system. The Wimmera and Glenelg systems share water available under the environmental entitlement and the VEWH works with
the Wimmera and Glenelg Hopkins CMAs to determine
how the available allocation will be used in each river in a given year. There is an additional volume of water available to the Glenelg River, as a compensation flow account. The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) also holds entitlement in the Wimmera system that can be used to supply the Wimmera River and lower Mount William Creek systems. Water for the environment available to the Wimmera-Mallee wetlands is provided under the same entitlement but not shared with the Glenelg system. Instead, the water is available for use in small wetlands supplied by the Wimmera-Mallee pipeline across the Wimmera, Mallee and North Central CMA regions.
Environmental values, recent conditions, environmental watering objectives and planned actions for each system in the western region are presented in the system sections that follow this regional overview.
Traditional Owners in the western region
Traditional Owners in the western region have a deep connection to the region’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains.
The Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation are the Registered Aboriginal Parties for the areas incorporating waterways covered by this section of the seasonal watering plan.
Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation (based in South Australia [SA]) represent the Boandik Traditional Owners for the south-west corner of the Glenelg River catchment.
In 2005, the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk peoples, who are often referred to collectively as the Wotjobaluk Peoples and who are represented by Barengi Gadjin Land Council, were recognised in a Native Title Consent Determination. Barengi Gadjin Land Council also entered into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Victorian and Australian governments in 2005.
In 2007, the Gunditjmara people were granted nonexclusive native title rights and interests over almost 140,000 ha
of vacant Crown land, national parks, reserves, rivers, creeks and sea in Victoria’s western district, and the State of Victoria reached an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Gunditjmara People that establishes how they will exercise their rights and interests in the determination area.
In 2013, the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation entered into a recognition and settlement agreement under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 in Victoria. Under the agreement, Dja Dja Wurrung people have rights to access and use water for traditional purposes, providing the take of water does not affect other parties.
The Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation is also a Registered Aboriginal Party within the geographic area, but its boundaries do not incorporate waterways managed with water for the environment in this section of the seasonal watering plan.
Seasonal watering proposals are informed by community, stakeholder and program partner engagement, as well as longer-term regional catchment strategies, regional waterway strategies, relevant technical studies (such
as environmental flow studies and environmental water management plans). Program partners and other stakeholders help to identify environmental watering priorities and opportunities for the coming year. The strategies and technical reports collectively describe a range of environmental, cultural, economic, social and Traditional Owner perspectives and longer-term integrated catchment and waterway management objectives that influence environmental watering actions and priorities.
The International Association for Public Participation’s Public Participation Spectrum (IAP2 Spectrum) has been used
to categorise the levels of participation of stakeholders involved in the environmental watering planning process. Table 4.1.1 shows the IAP2 Spectrum categories and participation goals.
4.1 Western region overview
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