Page 9 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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1.1 The Victorian environmental watering program
The Victorian environmental watering program is the ongoing, collaborative management of water for the environment used to improve the health of Victoria’s rivers and wetlands and of the native plants and animals that depend on them.
This seasonal watering plan previews all the potential watering actions that may be delivered across Victoria in 2020–21.
In this section ...
1.1.1 Why do we need an environmental watering program?
1.1.2 What do we mean by ‘water for the environment’?
1.1.3 What do we aim to achieve with water for the environment?
1.1.4 What is the environmental watering program, and who is involved?
1.1.5 What is the role of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder?
1.1.6 How does the Victorian environmental watering program fit within broader
integrated catchment and waterway management?
1.1.7 How does the environmental watering program consider climate change?
1.1.8 How do we know the environmental watering program is successful?
1.1.9 Where can I find more information about the Victorian environmental watering program?
1.1.1 Why do we need an environmental watering program?
Many of Victoria’s rivers and wetlands have been significantly modified, compared to how they were during the tens of thousands of years that Traditional Owners managed them. Water now flows differently through the landscape: it is captured in dams and weirs and diverted by infrastructure — pipelines, pumps, drains, levees
and constructed channels — to support homes, farms, irrigators, industries, towns and cities.
In some rivers, up to half of the water that would have naturally flowed in them is removed each year to provide water for homes, farms and industry. While this allows communities to grow and thrive, it also means these waterways cannot function as they would naturally.
Reduced river flows and less frequent wetland inundation have disrupted the breeding cycles of native fish, frogs, waterbirds, platypus and other animals. They have restricted the growth and recruitment of native plants and reduced the productivity of waterways. Our waterways still support many native species, but the total abundance of native plants
and animals has substantially declined, and the aesthetic value and ecosystem services those waterways provide have diminished.
Healthy waterways are essential for the plants and animals that live in them and for the people and industries that rely on clean water and the ecosystem services they provide. Many rivers and wetlands cannot survive altered water regimes without help. We must actively manage how water flows through these rivers, to protect their health and to support the plants that grow in them and the native animals that need them to live, feed and breed.
1.1 The Victorian environmental watering program
    Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21 | 7

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