UP TO 900 Ml of environmental water will be sent down the Campaspe River across six days this month, and then up to 40 Ml a day until winter.
North Central Catchment Management Authority’s acting environmental flows program manager Genevieve Smith said it was important rivers received water, even during dry conditions.
‘‘Many of the state’s rivers, floodplains and wetlands constantly experience an artificial drought because of river regulation and population growth,’’ she said.
‘‘This means that even when it is wet, they get less water than they would have naturally, as water is held back and stored, and up to half of it is removed for farms, towns and businesses.
‘‘This impact is even greater when conditions are dry.
‘‘That’s why it’s important water is used when it’s available, to help rivers survive the dry conditions and to manage them in an efficient and effective way.’’
More than 12,000 Ml of water flowed out of Lake Eppalock from October to the end of March for farms and stock and domestic use, according to the CMA.
As a result the authority says 7780 Ml of environmental water planned for the Campaspe River stayed in Lake Eppalock during the summer, bringing the total during the past four summers to about 47,000 Ml.
This financial year more than 17,000 Ml was sent down the river for productive use.
The authority said it had been working closely with Goulburn-Murray Water to time irrigation flows and system transfers to benefit the health of the Campaspe River.
‘‘G-MW had water to deliver and we worked with them to ensure it was delivered at a time and a rate that would benefit, as much as possible, native fish and platypus and the vegetation and water bugs they rely on to survive,’’ Ms Smith said.
‘‘Healthy river flows are not just about adding water. They are about adding the right amount of water at the right time and in the right place.
‘‘The river is looking magnificent and native fish numbers are increasing, and our management approach is producing results.
‘‘Irrigation flows have almost stopped now, and with the official season finishing in a few weeks, we are focused on making sure the water quality in the Campaspe stays high.
‘‘Rivers need to flow in autumn and winter, and we will begin our yearly autumn fresh in the coming days and small flows will continue daily until June.’’