People for a Living Moorabool are among a group of community organisations who have collectively released a Joint Statement on the Central and Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy.
As many people are aware this State Government water strategy is a pivotal document which will guide any plans to help the region's distressed rivers - including the Moorabool. PALM understands that the Draft is now before the Minister for Water, Richard Wynn.
Like PALM with the Moorabool River, groups across the region are witnessing the deterioration in the river systems and wetlands in their areas. They are all seeking to have the plight of their waterways fully acknowledged and to have constructive and input into decisions designed to secure better futures for those waterways.
PALM has joined them in calling on the Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Minister Richard Wynn to vastly improve community engagement and involvement in the SWS process.
Links to the press release and Joint Statement are here.
Or to view on the page:
To download directly click here.
To download directly click here.
Last night on the 26th of June a capacity crowd attended the Ballarat Mechanics Institute's Hall to watch the premier of the film “the River Moorabool”.
The film was a collaboration between People for A living Moorabool and She Oaks Films. It details the plight of what is arguably the most flow stressed river in Victoria. The event was organised by the Moorabool Landcare Group with any proceeds after expenses going to on-ground work along the river.
Described by one reviewer as “compelling, powerful and utterly beautiful and information rich” the film was widely applauded by those attending. A panel discussion followed involving a number of film's interviewees who fielded a range of questions from the audience.
The timing of the release of the film deliberately preempts the upcoming draft of the review of the State government's Gippsland and Central Region Water Strategy. It seeks to both inform and drive community support for a far better deal for the Moorabool River within the final strategy document.
PALM Coordinator Cameron Steele was especially heartened by the number of people who indicated their intention to support the campaign for more water to be left in this very special river.
“It has not only been those who have signed up on the night but also the phone calls and emails offering support which have poured in today.” he said.
“The momentum that has already gathered around this film has given our group a real shot in the arm and it will be up to all of us to ensure it makes a difference for the future of the Moorabool River.”
'the River Moorabool' will have its next screening in Geelong on the third of July. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-river-moorabool-geelong-tickets-156033350953
Dying Moorabool River needs big drinks of water
22 June 2021
Film premiere on Saturday 26 June in Ballarat
“The Moorabool River will continue to deteriorate and die unless we give back some of its water,” says Cameron Steele, coordinator of river protection group, People for A Living Moorabool.
“We’re calling on the Victorian government to give back 20,000 megalitres per year,” he says.
“The Moorabool flows from the Central Highlands near Ballarat through to Geelong - in theory. Sometimes, the Moorabool barely makes it to its junction with the Barwon River.”
“It’s Victoria’s most flow-stressed river. About 90 percent of the Moorabool’s natural flow is now taken for human use, primarily for Ballarat and Geelong.”
“Despite the pressure, the Moorabool still has wonderful gorges and valleys. Some sections contain iconic Australian wildlife, such as the platypus and rakali, as well as beautiful riverside bushland. However, unless the Moorabool gets more water to restore its health, the river will continue to deteriorate and completely die.”
Ian Penna, Moorabool River farmer and PALM supporter said: “We have watched the river deteriorate because of lower flows. Scientific research from 2005 shows the Moorabool needs a minimum increase in its environmental flow of 20,000 megalitres a year if it is to have a healthy future. This is now only about 5,000 megalitres”.
As one of the film production team, Mr Penna said: “We created a film, “the River Moorabool”, which documents the best and worst of the river and explores how we can restore it.”
“Options include smarter management of farm and government dams to reduce water loss/waste plus increased urban use of recycled water, waste water, and desalination.”
Mr Steele said: “We are facing our last chance to secure a long-term future for this river and its wildlife.” “After seeing our film, we want citizens using the river and drinking its water to tell the Victorian government to give the Moorabool River the regular big drinks it deserves.”
For further information, contact:
“the River Moorabool”
Background to the film.
The Moorabool River is in Victoria’s Central Region. Its sources are in the Wombat Forest near Ballarat and Daylesford, and it flows to the Barwon River near Geelong.
The film “the River Moorabool” (46 minutes) was made by People for A Living Moorabool (PALM) and Sheoaks Films of Torquay.
Melbourne University water law specialist, Erin O’Donnell says “the River Moorabool” is “compelling, powerful and utterly beautiful and information rich.....it
really deserves to be seen by a wide audience”, given its release ahead of the Victorian Government’s review of the Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy.
The film features:
- interviews with primary producers whose properties abut the river, landcare organisers, scientists, healthy river advocates and a member of the Wadawurrung
nation, as well as
- spectacular and wide-ranging views of the Moorabool river valley and catchment.
The film’s official trailer (3:45 minutes) is @ https://vimeo.com/349830144
A recent film promo (2:21 minutes) is @ https://vimeo.com/555665688
“the River Moorabool” will be launched on Saturday 26 June at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, Sturt St, Ballarat from 7pm.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with some of the people that appear in the film.
There will also be a launch in Geelong on 3 July at the Peter Thwaites Lecture Theatre, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds from 7pm.
Screenings are planned for the regional towns of Bannockburn and Ballan, as well as Melbourne.
Tickets are available from Eventbrite @ https://www.eventbrite.com.au/
A film promoting more water flows for the Moorabool River will have its world premiere in Ballarat on Saturday 26th June. There will be another launch in Geelong on Saturday the 3rd of July.
“the River Moorabool” was made by People for A Living Moorabool (PALM) and Sheoaks Films. It features local landowners, scientists, and healthy river advocates, as well a spectacular and wide-ranging views of the Moorabool river valley and catchment.
Cameron Steele, the coordinator of PALM, says that the health of the Moorabool River and its wildlife are being damaged because so much of the river’s water is taken for human use or not allowed to get into the river.
“By the time, the Moorabool reaches the Barwon at Geelong, about 90% of its original natural flow has been trapped in water authority reservoirs and farm dams, and taken from groundwater.”
“the River Moorabool” explores the consequences of this dramatic demand for the catchment’s water, especially in the face of climate change. Interviewees call for alternative water supplies for Ballarat and Geelong to reduce the pressure on the Moorabool so more water can flow down the river. Cameron Steele wants investigation of: the recycling and reuse of urban run-off and waste water; and, desalination.
The film encourages citizens to ‘get stroppy’ and tell their politicians that ruining the Moorabool is not acceptable.
You can watch the official trailer for “the River Moorabool” on the internet @ https://vimeo.com/349830144
The Age Newspaper on the 17th of June publish an article about the film which can be found here:
“the River Moorabool” will be shown in:
Ballarat on Saturday 26 June from 7pm
at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, 117-119 Sturt St,
Geelong on Saturday 3 July from 7pm
at the Peter Thwaites Lecture Theatre,
Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Campus.
Tickets ($16.50 each) are available from Eventbrite – see eventbrite.com.au or scan the Ballarat or Geelong flow code using your mobile phone:
Each screening of “the River Moorabool” will be followed by a panel discussion. Screenings are planned for Bannockburn and Ballan.
Film posters below.
The Moorabool River is recognised as the most over-allocated and flow stressed river in Victoria with flows at its mouth being reduced by 90%.
It has huge amounts of water drawn from it each year to supply the cities of Ballarat and Geelong along many smaller towns in between. The region's largest water utility reservoir sits at its center.
The aquifer supplying the river at its head is heavily mined for water via groundwater bores. It is deemed over allocated and reduces the flow in some of the Moorabool's streams by 70%.
Its catchment has more farm dams per square kilometre than any other river basin in the State holding the equivalent of 23% of its annual inflows.
Over the last 15 years the Moorabool has suffered the largest decline in water runoff due to climate change than any other river basin in central and southern Victoria.
To top everything else off it is now facing having 60% of its environmental flows stripped from it within the decade when the pumps at the Fyansford Quarry likely to be shut down.
We need your help to give voice to the plight of this highly stressed river and to help halt its decline.
Right now its future is being decided at a high level through the updating of the Sustainable Water Strategy (SWS). The original Strategy set out a framework for leaving more water in our most stricken rivers and it was used extensively by advocates like PALM to get better outcomes for them. We desperately need this update to be even more courageous particularly given the serious impacts of our changing climate.
The community members and advocacy groups have two chances to give input. The first is right now through the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning's Engage Vic portal which can be found here:
The second opportunity will be when the draft Strategy comes out in early July. PALM and others will be campaigning strongly over the subsequent two months supported by an excellent film called The River Moorabool which will have a release in both Ballarat and Geelong around that time.
Link to Official Trailer of “The River Moorabool”: www.vimeo.com/349830144
Please fill out the DELWP's survey and check back regularly for updates.
In early May 2019 members of the Living Moorabool Project on which PALM sits were invited to join members of the Wadawurrung for a cultural day at a beautiful spot downstream of the Batesford Bridge.
After an extended dry period it seems the river was determined to rise to the occasion and some welcome rain in the previous week saw it presenting with a small but steady flow.
During a Welcome to Country those attending, who had been earlier asked to bring water from creek or river which was special to them, were asked to pour a little of it into a communal bowl into which gumleaves were dipped and then placed on the smoking fire. It was a moving tribute to people's connection to thier local rivers.
Members of the Wadawurrung had also woven an eel trap which was placed in the Moorabool River and an eel was presented for people to examine much to the delight of the children in attendance.
It was a great day that was in part a celebration of the fact the Wadawurrung had managed, through negotiations with the Environmental Water Holder, the CCMA and Central Highlands Water, to secure 500ML of additional environmental water for the lower Moorabool for this year.
While PALM is on record as being against inter-basin transfers in principle we feel this is a huge leap forward in involving traditional owners in decisions around water management and may perhaps soon see them securing a permanent allocation for cultural use on the Moorabool River.
As longterm advocates for the Moorabool River it is extremely heartening to have others also speaking out so strongly for it.
We wish to thank and congratulate all those involved as it adds another important, positive chapter in the fight to bring this river back from the brink and secure its long term future.
The Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy, developed and implemented under the Bracks government, was a landmark document pivotal in securing environmental flows for rivers like the Moorabool River.
Legislation requires the strategy be reviewed every 10 years. The current review is underway and a draft report has been released. It can be found here;
There are public meetings scheduled through August and the two most relevant to the Moorabool River are the following:
Tuesday 7 August 2018 03:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Mechanics Institute Ballarat, 117 Sturt St, Ballarat
Tuesday 14 August 2018 03:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Geelong Wurdi Youang Room North Level 5, in the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, 51 Malop St, Geelong
The final day for submissions is the 27th August 2018.
The original strategy chapters can be accessed by clicking on the links below;
- Cover and Chapter 1 (PDF, 2.1 MB)
- Chapter 2 (PDF, 918.5 KB)
- Chapter 3 (PDF, 4.5 MB)
- Chapter 4 (PDF, 2.5 MB)
- Chapter 5 and Glossary (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Chapter 4 is the most directly addressing the Moorabool River in the original.
Update 25th October 2018
The review is now available at;
It appears the Moorabool River was the most highly represented river within the Central Region so well done to all those involved in keeping the plight of this river in front of government.