Fresh flows boost Yarra River health

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Media Release

Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River will benefit from a fresh flow of water over the next two weeks as 2,200 million litres of water is released to enhance the river’s health.

Environmental flow releases, critical to river health, flush sediment from the river, encourage vegetation growth and maintain habitat for bugs, fish and platypus.

Water will be released from Maroondah Reservoir and the Maroondah Aqueduct to benefit the stretch of river between Yering Gorge and Dights Falls.

David Norman, Waterways Manager, said in addition to supplying much of Melbourne’s water needs, 17 billion litres of Yarra River water is reserved annually for environmental flows.

“Melbourne’s waterways suffered during the drought, so it’s important that we give back when we’re in a position to do so,” Mr Norman said.

“Maintaining a safe, sustainable and plentiful water supply is vital, but we have to make sure that we look after the environment that is ultimately supporting us.

“The Yarra is a centrepiece of Melbourne and this environmental water release will help to make the river even better,” he added.

Mr Norman said flows released from reservoirs were carefully controlled and monitored to ensure that no flooding or increased erosion occurred along the river and also targeted to provide a boost for aquatic life.

“Following the successful completion of the Dights Falls fishway, endangered juvenile Australian graylings are now able to move upstream and environmental releases can assist their migration,” Mr Norman said.

“This stretch of the Yarra is also home to the nationally protected Macquarie perch and platypus populations, both of which will benefit from environmental releases and the food they bring,” he added.

This is the fourth time the Yarra River has received environmental flows since its water allocation was established in October 2010, and is consistent with the continued recovery of water storages over the last three years.

Melbourne Water is working with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) on this environmental release. The VEWH is the independent statutory body for holding and managing Victoria’s environmental water entitlements.

Media contact: Jaki Colgan (03) 9679 7204; 0408 673 464
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