1. Given the climate induced reduction in runoff within the Moorabool Catchment what program of reactive adjustments to both bulk entitlements and allowable capture volumes is envisaged for the water authorities currently accessing the river?
2. What are the system and place specific actions being contemplated for the Moorabool River and what definitive applicable targets and time frames included within the SWS?
3. Given the 3,000 ML pumped from the Fyansford Quarry and identified as environmental flows in the last SWS will be switched off in the not too distant future how will the new SWS account for those losses and still drive for further overall increases in environmental flows?
4. Given the new expansion of pipeline capacity at the Lethbridge storage facility signals yet another increase in reliance on the most flow stressed river in Victoria where do the SWS team envisage we can draw a line in the sand on further projects such as this?
5. Given the previous SWS detailed 6,500ML of water to returned to the Moorabool River following moves to potable reuse of recycled water by both Barwon Water and Central Highlands Water, what are the joint expectations of the two water authorities of how they will deal with an increasing population while overseeing a reduction of this size of the chronic over allocation on the Moorabool River? Is a ministerial level decision to shelve potable reuse of recycled water going to cruel the chances for significant recovery volumes for the Moorabool River?
6. How has the documented increase in the number of farm dams within the Moorabool Catchment (a catchment with the highest concentration of farms dams of any within the State) impacted the environmental flows achieved through the last SWS and what does DELWP plan to do to address this constant erosion of gains for the river? For instance what measures will be taken to cap any expansion of farm dams in the Moorabool Catchment and what encouragement will be given to farmers to consolidate existing dams?
7. Given the utterly deplorable state of the East Moorabool what specific environmental bulk entitlement allocations are envisaged for the Bostock and Korweinguboora Reservoirs and will there be a reinstatement and accompanying increase of an environmental allocation for the Moorabool Reservoir on the West Moorabool?
8. How much has the recent policy of Southern Rural Water to drive the activation of sleeper licences within the system and what has been the impact of river flows? Further what is the envisaged long term impact?
9. Regarding Action 4.8c of the current SWS which states:
“The Department of Sustainability and Environment and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority will implement a voluntary buy–back scheme for unregulated surface water diversion licences in selected areas of the Moorabool catchment to retire the licences and transfer the water to the environment.”
This was never implemented but will it now be a vehicle for facilitating substituting river allocations of Moorabool Valley wineries and other users for piped high class recycled water from treatment plants proposed for the north and west growth areas of Geelong?
10. Given the detrimental impact of recycled water volumes entering the Leigh River on the number of native fish species in particular will the SWS commit to no recycled water being used to enhance flows within the Moorabool River?
11. What is the status of the 4 future water recovery options for water for the Moorabool River detailed on page 74 of the current SWS? Further is the 2,500ML recovery volume flagged from the Jan Juc Aquifer becoming operational now available as promised?
12. Given the reported changes in farming practices from water intensive potato production to broad acre cropping within the over allocated Bungaree Water Supply Protection Area, and given that every megalitre of water extracted results in 0.6 megalitres reduction in base flows into the Moorabool River, will there be halt on licence transfers in to allow aquifer recovery? Further why are new ground water licences still being issued within the Moorabool Catchment given the dire state of the system?
13. Will there be a clear delineation between environmental allocations and indigenous water allocations even given the reasonable likelihood they will be utilised for similar purposes? Further will there be evidence based guidelines around the cultural or recreational use of environmental water to ensure broad benefit to all native species within the system is firstly fully realised given the resource available?
14. What is the status of the Ballan Channel lining and what dividend will the resultant water savings contribute to environmental flows?
15. The SWS review discussed adaptive management pathways and relates that “All stakeholders should be involved in making tradeoffs in a flexible, adaptive management framework that identifies desired outcomes and ways to achieve them, as water supply, the needs of users and water uses change.”. How will the SWS ensure that those advocating on behalf of environmental outcomes for various systems are included within this framework and what will be the likely format?
16. Will there be a focus on securing water from the Bannockburn Treatment plant to supply the Lethbridge Intensive Agriculture Precinct thus negating the call on up to 900ML of water from the Moorabool River per year?
17. How will the increasing threat on water quality by developments, such as the Riverstone Estate at Batesford presenting with 150 unsewered lots on a slope draining to the Moorabool River, be addressed within the SWS?
18. Given the enormity of the task of both reviving and protecting rivers like the Moorabool is alternative funding regimes or restructuring of the relationship between organisations such as CCMAs and water authorities contemplated for our area?
19. Given the acknowledged need to access water from far more expensive sources such as storm water, recycled water or desalinated water has the mandating of inclining block tariffs for our water authorities pricing models been contemplated?
20. What initiatives within the SWS will more evenly spread the burden of climate change among the environment and the other users of the resources within the Moorabool River?
21. If in the future Geelong is to be supplied via a desalination plant is there a firm commitment not to transfer Barwon Water's share of Lal Lal to Central Highlands Water thus further depriving the Moorabool of flows?
PALM made a submission to the first review document of the SWS in 2018 and it can be found here.
If you would like to know of opportunities to assist please contact us through the site.