Benefits set to flow for Goulburn River this winter

Wednesday 12 June, 2024
A delivery of water for the environment into the Goulburn River this month will sustain the health of the waterway and benefit platypus, native fish and waterbugs.

Known as a winter fresh, water released from Lake Eildon will increase the height of the mid Goulburn River for a short period as it flows through Alexandra, Molesworth, Seymour, Murchison, Shepparton and further downstream. 

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority environmental water manager, Simon Casanelia, said the water delivery would help maintain the health and functioning of the Goulburn River through increasing habitat by moving sediment out of deep pools and putting it on the banks.  

“While it’s occurring, the fresh will increase the habitat available for native fish, platypus and water bugs by inundating connected anabranches and wetlands,” Mr Casanelia said. 

“Winter is when platypus forage for food and build their nests. The winter fresh reminds the platypus to build their nests nice and high to keep their eggs and young from drowning if the river rises later in the year.”

Mr Casanelia said water for the environment, which is water allocated and managed to improve the health of rivers, wetlands and floodplains, was designed to mimic natural flows that would have occurred before the river was dammed and regulated. 

“By providing this water we can do our bit to help replicate natural flows,” he said. 

As the water flows out of the Goulburn River it will benefit the Murray River downstream by improving water quality and helping to flush a blue-green algae problem, coinciding with a delivery of water for the environment from the Lower-Darling. 

The fresh is planned for delivery from 21 June with flows exceeding 8000ML/day. It will peak in July at approximately 9,500ML/day (a river height of 5.6m at Shepparton) before slowly dropping back to approximately 1000ML/day (a river height of 2.7m at Shepparton) in late July. Peak flows are well below minor flood levels (9.5m at Shepparton). In the case of forecast rain, environmental flow releases may be reduced or stopped.

Environmental flows are planned by the Goulburn Broken CMA in consultation with the CEWH and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH). The flows are authorised by the VEWH in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2023-24. The plan is available for download from, with regular watering updates posted on the Goulburn Broken CMA website  

To check how Water for the Environment changes flows in the Lower Goulburn, view the hydrograph on Goulburn Broken CMA’s website: (updated weekly).

Platypus will benefit from a delivery of water for the environment down the Goulburn River. (Photo: Australian Platypus Conservancy).

The Goulburn River at Seymour.

The Goulburn Broken CMA acknowledges and respects First Nations people and the deep connection they have with their land and waters.

We acknowledge the Yorta Yorta and Taungurung people and their ancestors/forbears as Traditional Owners of the land and waters in the Goulburn Broken Catchment (and beyond). We value our ongoing partnerships with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Taungurung Land and Waters Council for the health of Country and its people.

We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge and recognise the primacy of Traditional Owners obligations, rights and responsibilities to use and care for their traditional lands and waters.

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