Giving the Broken a break

Friday 9 August, 2019
A short-term change to the minimum amount of water for the environment being used in the Broken River will ensure the river’s health is maintained if conditions remain dry this season.
Goulburn Broken CMA’s Simon Casanelia said the CMA had worked with river operators GMW to reduce the
amount of water released from Lake Nillahcootie from 30ML/day to 15ML/day.
“Under our agreement with GMW, we’d normally see 30ML/day of ‘environmental passing flows’ released
during winter and spring to maintain the health of the river just downstream of the storage,” Mr Casanelia said.
“However given inflows into Nillahcootie are still pretty low and there are no operational releases, the Goulburn
Broken CMA and GMW have negotiated to reduce the passing flow to 15ML/day. This is the minimum amount
needed to maintain water quality and bank vegetation, provide shelter and food for native fish and wildlife such
as platypus, and support water bugs.”
The additional water (above 15ML/day) will be recorded and become available for later use when conditions
improve. To date about 400ML has accumulated. This water can be used later in the season to help maintain a
base flow if conditions remain dry.
“This careful approach to managing the limited amount of water for the environment we have available this year
will help us to maintain water quality and critical habitat for wildlife if there are low inflows into Nillahcootie,”
Mr Casanelia said.
If good rain in the next few months results in increased run-off and inflows that meet the minimum flow needed
to keep the river healthy, water for the environment will not be needed. The water for the environment and
any accumulated water will then be used for other priority watering actions identified for the Broken River such
as delivering an autumn environmental flow.
“We’re keen that the great response we got from native fish, including silver and golden perch, Murray River
rainbow fish and Murray cod in response to environmental flows delivered along the Broken River last April are
not lost,” Mr Casanelia said. “Adapting management and delivery of water for the environment is a valuable way
of protecting rivers, and the wildlife and people who rely on them, during tough times.”
More information about environment flows can be found here