23rd February 2024

For over a decade People for A Living Moorabool have been alerting agencies to the fact that the East Moorabool is the most flow stressed part of an already highly stressed system. It supports 3 large dams including Korweinguboora, Bolwarrah and Bostock. The water from these dams is then channelled to the 3 large Stoney Creek Reservoirs bypassing the river entirely.

The advocacy of PALM and others on behalf of the Moorabool River to the recent Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy process was key to the final water recovery actions documented. Ultimately 700ML in environmental and cultural flows were secured as a commitment in the strategy. Subsequent formidable work by the Wadawurrung and strong support from Barwon Water has this week seen a trial release of a modest amount of water over the wall at the Bostock Reservoir.

Making this event even more significant is the water is being directed at a part of the river which had not seen through flows since the construction of the reservoir in 1954, over 70 years ago. When it was constructed the spillway was positioned on a second earthen embankment to the south west. This excised over 4 kilometres of the East Moorabool, permanently halting flows in this reach and causing the formation of stagnant pools.

 GE Overview 1000

 

In order to get water into this section a temporary pump has been installed by Barwon Water delivering a small but vital 1 to 2 ML per day until the end of February. Two members of PALM, along with other agency staff, were invited by the Wadawurrung to see first hand the pump in action and the first flows being delivered to what is a striking part of the river. Watching the water pulse down the line was quite evocative, speaking to the sense of the river as a living entity, and its waterways as its veins.

 

GE Overview 2 1000

 

We were then driven to a section of the river to see the passing flow in a wooded area of the East Moorabool on the Wadawurrung property. Large remnant gums shaded our walk as we made our way to view several sites with the sound of running water breathing life into this previously stagnant section. This is in reality a modest amount, but the difference it will make to this special part of the East Moorabool will hopefully be significant.

 

 

Our thanks and acknowledgement go to the Wadawurrung team who were supported by Barwon Water, the CCMA, the Sustainable Water Strategy team at DEECA and to the government for being able to come together and produce what will hopefully be another milestone in healing this magnificent but highly overstressed river.

 

For more information about the project can be found in the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation media release: https://vicwater.org.au/2024/03/05/a-flowing-future-water-releases-back-to-wadawurrung-country/