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Water flows to continue the recovery of the lower Lachlan wetlands

Media release: 6 June 2013

The lower Lachlan River and its wetlands are about to benefit from a significant environmental water release to help build on the recovery of the river and its native plant communities.

Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder David Papps said that the water will improve the overall health of the river system and benefit up to15,000 hectares of river red gums as well as black box, lignum and other wetland vegetation that provide important habitat for wildlife.

“This will be the largest use of water entitlement held by the Commonwealth and State governments in the Lachlan River system ever.

“It is a great example of how working together at federal, state and local levels can result in good projects that help meet the needs of the local environment and contribute to the health of the Murray–Darling Basin as a whole,” Mr Papps said.

Office of Environment and Heritage Senior Environmental Water Manager Paul Packard said that since April 2012 the region has experienced limited rainfall and high temperatures. This has led to many of the lower Lachlan floodplains and wetlands becoming dry.

“As a result of environmental water delivered in 2011 and a large flood event in 2012, there has been real improvement in the health of the wetlands that suffered during the record drought. This follow up environmental water will help to ensure that this initial recovery of the system isn’t lost,” Mr Packard said.

The release of environmental water into the Lachlan River will commence on Friday 7 June 2013 from Lake Brewster and will continue until mid July.

“The delivery of this water has been carefully planned in close consultation with landholders and with local and regional stakeholders through the Lachlan Riverine Working Group,” Mr Packard said.

“We have planned the event to occur in winter to maximise the efficiency of delivery and spread of water in the channel and floodplain areas and limit impact on farming activities.

“Water flows are expected to replenish key wetlands and swamps, located south-west of Hillston, including the Lower Lachlan, Cumbung, Moon Moon and Baconian swamps as well as Lake Ita and Lake Waljeers.”

The water flow will be closely managed by State Water to keep it well below minor flood levels in the Lachlan River; with water flows at approximately 3,000 megalitres per day above Willandra Weir.

The environmental water flow is entirely made up of water recovered by the Commonwealth and NSW governments for the environment - up to 75,000 megalitres and 15,000 megalitres of water respectively. The environmental water delivery will not affect water allocations for local irrigators or stock and domestic users.

Contact: Katie Ritchie

Page last updated: 07 March 2014