Goulburn River flows increasing to meet Murray River demand

Flows in the Goulburn River are starting to increase to meet demand from Murray River users. The increased flows are not environmental flows for the Goulburn River.
The MDBA has placed an order for 50GL to be delivered from the Goulburn this month to meet downstream
Murray River demand and maintain water in Lake Victoria – a key storage for South Australia. This transfer of
water from one area to another is known as inter-valley trade (IVT).
Recently the Victorian Government announced IVT deliveries would be limited to 50GL a month from
December to April to help reduce environmental damage to the lower Goulburn River caused by high IVT
deliveries during 2017-18 and 2018-19.
The MDBA order will see flows in Goulburn River increase from the current IVT rate of 1300ML/day to an
average of 1700ML/day.
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has asked the IVT flows are delivered at a
variable rate to limit environmental damage to the Goulburn River.
“We’d prefer to maintain the flow around 1000ML/day to give bank vegetation a chance to grow and spread
and provide valuable habitat for bugs and small fish,” Goulburn Broken CMA CEO Chris Norman said.
“Higher flows in the Goulburn at this time of the year, when you’d expect flows to be low, cause
environmental damage such as erosion. We’ve used water for the environment in spring for the past five
years to help spread the seeds and plants that help stabilise the banks and provide shelter for native fish and
wildlife. Monitoring showed water for the environment was making a difference and that the banks were
starting to recover from the last drought and floods.
“Unfortunately the record high IVT deliveries over the past two years during summer and early autumn have
undone much of the good work we were starting to see. They’ve caused erosion of the lower bank and loss
of bank-stabilising vegetation, which means the banks are now even more vulnerable to high unseasonal
“That’s why we’d requested that if this water had to be delivered at this time of the year our preferred
delivery option was after cod opening, which provides huge economic and recreational benefits to this
region. And, rather than delivering it at a constant rate over a long period of time, which causes erosion and
‘drowns’ lower bank vegetation, we’ve recommended that it’s delivered at a variable rate with a short
higher 'pulse' of water in mid-December. As well as being better for the banks the pulse could provide a cue
for silver and golden perch to move from the Murray River to the Goulburn and stimulate spawning.”
Flows in the lower Goulburn River (downstream of Goulburn Weir) will remain around 1300ML/day over the
next few days before a pulse of about 3000ML/day is delivered around December 17.
The effects of IVT and unseasonal high flows on the banks will continue to be monitored by the Goulburn
Broken CMA.
Please note: Flow rates may change based on operational requirements. GMW publish forecast releases on
latest information on actual and forecast flows and IVT deliveries.
For more information on interim changes to Goulburn River operations visit: