Melbourne Water is working to improve the health of the Yarra River billabongs. 

On Monday 22nd of October, Melbourne Water are planning to pump water from two separate locations from the Yarra River into Burke Road and Willsmere Billabongs to improve environmental condition. Crews will be on site at both Burke Road and Willsmere from Monday 22nd October for 4-5 days. 


Billabongs along the Yarra river are generally meander cut offs (former paths of the river). Many of Melbourne’s billabongs are now more frequently dry, due to lower river flows caused by river regulation, water storage and urban development. These billabongs would have been inundated once annually pre-European settlement and are now inundated once every three-four years.

With the changes to their wet/dry regime these ecosystems are threatened. These sites are threatened by changes to their natural water regimes, weeds, feral & domestic animals and imbalances in the ecosystem. 

Why are we doing these works?

This project to water the Burke Rd and Willsmere billabongs will:

  • Trial a more natural water regime for the billabongs. 
  • Supress weeds and encourage the regeneration of native vegetation which requires a wetting and drying cycle. 
  • Stop the growth of terrestrial species within the billabong.  
  • Test water options for the billabongs and provide more understanding of the billabongs water requirements.

What will the works involve?

Melbourne Water plans to pump water at the same time from two separate locations along the Yarra river into each of the billabongs to fill them to a depth of approximately 50cm. This pumping is expected to take approximately 3 days. 

The water used to fill the billabongs from the Yarra River is being provided by the Victorian Environment Water Holder’s environmental entitlement and will be pumped during a period of an environmental water release from the Upper Yarra Reservoir. The environmental entitlement exists to store and provide water for releases down the river to improve environmental condition.

Last updated:
19 October 2018