ANOTHER peak summer recreation period has ended with minimal environmental water leaving Lake Eppalock.
This year marks the third summer in a row the North Central Catchment Management Authority has worked with Goulburn Murray Water to time irrigation flows and system transfers to benefit both Lake Eppalock and the Campaspe River downstream.
The end result – 40,000 megalitres of water originally planned for environmental flows remained in Lake Eppalock over the three summers.
“We understand the importance of our waterways for all our communities, both downstream of Lake Eppalock and around the reservoir itself,” North Central CMA Environmental Water manager Louissa Rogers said.
“Where we can, we work with other government agencies and community groups to ensure our flows benefit more than just the river.
“Our planned flows over the peak recreation period coincided with planned irrigation flows, so we worked with GMW to ensure the flow rates and the timing of the flows would benefit the fish, plants and platypus, and recreational users.”
Since early January, the lake has dropped by about 28,000 megalitres due to evaporation, water released for irrigation purposes and water transferred to downstream users.
GMW managing director Pat Lennon said the water corporation and CMA had cooperated to provide benefits for customers, the environment and our community.
“This is proof of the great things we can achieve working together,” Mr Lennon said.
Ms Rogers said the flows were building resilience back into a river decimated by the Millennium Drought and a century of regulation.
“Healthy river flows are not just about adding water. They are about adding the right amount of water, at the right time in the right place,” she said.
“The river is looking magnificent and native fish numbers are increasing – our management regime is producing results.’’
The Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s Seasonal Watering Plan 2016-17 is available to download from www.vewh.vic.gov.au, and regular updates are posted on the North Central CMA website, www.nccma.vic.gov.au