Page 195 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
P. 195

Annual planning is documented in basin annual environmental watering priorities (by the MDBA under the Basin Plan), in annual portfolio management plans (by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office), and in the VEWH’s annual seasonal watering plan (this document). In Victoria, all water for the environment must be delivered in line with the VEWH’s seasonal watering plan, meaning coordination during annual planning is fundamental to successful basin-scale outcomes.
Environmental water holders in the Murray-Darling Basin are placing an increased emphasis on coordinating water deliveries to achieve landscape-scale environmental outcomes. Examples include:
• delivering a winter fresh in the Goulburn River, which subsequently passed through to the Lower Lakes in SA and through the barrages to the Coorong to trigger upstream migration of fish (such as lamprey)
• efficient water use meant that all of the 12,700 ML delivered to Lake Kramen in the Hattah Lakes complex in 2019–20 were return flows from environmental watering actions in the Goulburn River. The same parcel of environmental water helped to meet environmental watering actions in the Goulburn River, Murray River
and Lake Kramen. Moreover, the co-ordinated watering actions meant that carbon, nutrients, native plant seeds and native fish eggs and larvae were directly transported from upstream to downstream sites and from the river channel to the floodplain.
The VEWH holds Victorian environmental entitlements for water recovered under interstate projects and agreements — Living Murray and RMIF entitlements — and these require coordinated decision-making about where
they are used. The primary objective of Living Murray entitlements is to support Murray icon sites, which include the Barmah Forest, Gunbower Forest, Hattah Lakes and the Lindsay–Mulcra–Wallpolla islands in Victoria. RMIF
also support environmental objectives along the Murray system in Victoria, NSW and SA. Recommendations for the coordinated use of Living Murray allocation and RMIF are made by the Southern Connected Basin Environmental Watering Committee.
The VEWH partners with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office to optimise the benefits of water for the environment held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) and delivered in Victoria. Delivery of the Living Murray’s and Commonwealth’s environmental Water Holdings, to meet Victorian environmental watering objectives, is included in relevant system sections in the following pages of this document.
Water for the environment delivered through northern Victorian waterways can often be reused to achieve further environmental benefits downstream. If return flows are not reused at Victorian environmental sites, VEWH, Living Murray and CEWH return flows continue to flow across the border to SA where they will be used to provide environmental benefits along the Murray River and in the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth area.
The VEWH may order, or authorise waterway managers
to order, Living Murray and Commonwealth environmental water for environmental outcomes at downstream (non- Victorian) sites. The VEWH may also order water for delivery in the Murray system to non-Victorian sites under river operating rules that help improve environmental outcomes while maintaining the reliability of entitlements for all water users. In previous years, this has included deliveries to the Murray from the lower Darling, orders for delivery from Lake Victoria and orders for delivery to the Murray River.
5.1 Northern region overview
   Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21 | 193

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