Page 14 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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 1.1 The Victorian environmental watering program
Figure 1.1.2 Examples of complementary management actions
How does the environmental watering program consider climate change?
Environmental water entitlements on their own are less than what is recommended for intended environmental outcomes; and if a greater proportion of entitlements is used to compensate for reduced spills and run-off, there will be fewer opportunities to release the managed flows needed to improve environmental outcomes. A long-term water resource assessment for northern Victoria is due to begin in 2025.
These observed and forecast changes to streamflows and extreme climatic events threaten not just to reduce the availability of water for the environment but also to decrease water quality and increase the incidence of algal blooms. Plants and animals that live in and around waterways and rely on well established flow patterns for successful feeding, breeding and movement through the landscape will also
be affected.
Action 3.5 of Water for Victoria aims to improve the management of environmental flows in a changing climate. It states the Victorian Government’s commitment to continue to invest in environmental works and measures for priority environmental watering sites, which will allow better use of the VEWH’s existing water. In some instances, the VEWH may be able to opportunistically complement this investment using water trade revenue, where this optimises environmental outcomes.
Water troughs so livestock don't need to access the river
Revegetation for habitat and to prevent erosion
Weed control
Water for the environment
Fishways to allow through weirs
Victoria’s climate has seen a drying and warming trend over the last two decades, and it is predicted this trend will continue in the future. Climate modelling1 indicates there will be more extreme events including droughts, floods and heatwaves, and there are expected to be more bushfires. Seasonal shifts in rainfall are expected to continue, with proportionally less rain in the cooler months. Average streamflow is predicted to decline across all parts of Victoria, with some of the greatest declines expected in the south-west and parts of the central and northern regions, as Figure 1.1.3 shows.
Some effects of climate change are already apparent.
The Long-term Water Resource Assessment for Southern Victoria2 shows that long-term water availability for the environment has declined by 4–28% in southern basins over the last 10–15 years, as Figure 1.1.4 shows. Reduced rainfall over this period has resulted in less frequent spills from reservoirs and lower rates of catchment run-off to waterways downstream of reservoirs. These changes mean that water for the environment needs to be a greater proportion of the water that is essential for environmental outcomes including waterway and wetland health.
bug habitat
Fencing to protect riverbanks from going into the river
Screens around pumps and off-take channels to
from being drawn into mechanical equipment and channels
Pest control for animals like rabbits, foxes and carp
1 Timbal, B. et al. (2016) Climate change science and Victoria. Victoria Climate Change Initiative (VicCI) report. Bureau of Meteorology, Australia. Bureau Research Report 14, pp 94.
2 Department of Environment Land Water and Planning 2020, Long-Term Water Resource Assessment for Southern Victoria, Victorian Government, Melbourne.
12 | Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21
In-stream vegetation habitat and food

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