Page 22 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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 1.3 Implementing the seasonal watering plan
1.3 Implementing the seasonal watering plan
The seasonal watering plan scopes potential environmental watering for the coming year, but many factors influence decisions about what water for the environment is committed and delivered.
In this section ...
1.3.1 How are watering decisions made throughout the year?
1.3.2 When does the Victorian Environmental Water Holder commit and authorise the use of water for the environment?
1.3.3 How does the Victorian Environmental Water Holder prioritise different watering actions when there is not enough water for the environment available?
1.3.4 Do seasonal conditions affect how water for the environment is used?
1.3.5 How are shared cultural, economic, recreational, social and Traditional Owner benefits considered in environmental watering decisions?
1.3.6 How are risks managed?
1.3.7 How are environmental watering emergencies managed?
Some factors that influence decisions about committing and delivering water for the environment are:
• seasonal conditions, weather forecasts and catchment conditions
• river and system operations (such as unregulated flows, catchment inflows, storage levels, other water users’ needs and potential delivery constraints)
• ecological or biological factors and triggers (such as plant and animal responses to natural flows or temperature)
• water availability
• risks associated with an environmental watering action
• the opportunity to deliver shared benefits.
It is important there is the flexibility to respond to these different factors, as they can significantly influence the environmental outcomes and shared benefits that can be achieved.
1.3.1 How are watering decisions made throughout the year?
As the season unfolds, many of the uncertainties associated with seasonal conditions, water availability and operational context become clearer, and this clarity informs decisions about what environmental flows should proceed. Many on-ground factors do not become clear until very close to the anticipated time of releasing the water.
To guide environmental watering decisions, a flexible and adaptive approach is adopted that involves relevant stakeholders. This process of review and adjustment ensures that water for the environment is used in an efficient, seasonally appropriate manner to optimise ecological outcomes across the state.
Waterway managers, storage managers and land managers provide advice about which watering actions are needed and can be delivered in each region during the year. Environmental water holders use that information to decide which watering actions to authorise. All program partners have a role in identifying potential watering actions and enabling the release of water for the environment (as explained in subsection 1.3.3).
If planned watering actions need to be significantly changed during the season to respond to unforeseen circumstances, further scientific or community input may be sought to inform decision-makers.
The VEWH regularly publishes updated information about current and anticipated environmental watering actions on its website at vewh.vic.gov.au.
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