An inspiring, insightful and telling film from the Maribyrnong, Mirrangbamurn: Maribyrnong River and Waterways Association.
It is with great pleasure PALM introduces Paulina Gutierrez Ramos.
Paluina in her second year of her PhD study looking at the Moorabool River Catchment. Based at the Deakin University, School of life and Environment, Center of Rural and Regional Futures Paulina's main focus is on catchment health and water forecasting.
Paulina has kindly provided the following bio and abstract:
Project Sponsor: Barwon Water and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
I grew up in the city of Leon, in Mexico. I have always been interested in science, which led me to pursue studies in Biology and Environmental Science. During my bachelor studies, I was recipient of a scholarship in 2006 and had the amazing opportunity to come to Australia sponsored with an international scholarship, to attend Deakin University.
After finishing my undergraduate studies in Mexico, I migrated to Australia and continued studies in secondary school teaching. I worked as a high school teacher for 10 years. Due to my passion for science and sustainability, I completed a Master in Sustainability doing a project on sustainable regional development in both Mexico and Australia; I completed my research with recognition for academic excellence.
Currently, I am on the second year of my PhD project. My research focuses on catchment health and water forecasting. I hope my research will be useful for water managers, landowners and community organisations of the region and for catchment managers. At the end of my studies, I plan to pursue a career in the water management industry.
Title of PhD Project: Environmental flows in the Moorabool River
A significant proportion of the potable water used for human consumption comes from surface water, rivers and lakes. However, the modification of many waterways has had an impact on hydrological cycles and the functioning of freshwater ecosystems. Australian rivers have not escaped this fate.
In addition to direct, physical alterations, Climate change has an impact on the hydrological regime of many rivers. The uncertainty of different climates poses a challenge for natural resources managers, and preparing an adaptation plan requires consideration of different scenarios and application of water forecasting models.
Hydrological models help to explain the water balance of a catchment. Hydrologist use rainfall-runoff models to predict river flow and forecast the effects of land use changes, such as urbanization, land clearance and agricultural farm dams. The hydrological impacts of land-use change to streamflow, specifically alterations caused by interception of water via farm dams, is a topic of increasing scientific interest.
The influence of water trapping by farm dams on stream flows within the Moorabool Catchment, and many other catchments in Australia and overseas, is currently unknown. Given the potential cumulative impact of farm dams to trap significant volumes of water, thereby reducing runoff and subsequent river flow, my research aim is to quantify the distribution, morphological characteristics and number of farm dams in the Moorabool catchment. The morphological characteristics will include surface area and storage capacity. I will then model the correlation between farm dam water storage to stream run-off on an annual basis.
PALM would like to acknowledge and applaud a focus on the Moorabool River by the Koala Clancy Foundation.
The article speaks to the importance of river red gums in supporting koala populations during heatwaves and times of drought.
People for A Living Moorabool have generally found politicians and candidates from across the political spectrum have been open to recognising the plight of the Moorabool River. With the recent rains it has been easy to forget the declining health of our waterways due to the impact of climate change. The Moorabool River has been identified as having lost 20% of its inflows over the last 15 years due to decreasing rainfall.
So it has been welcome to see a candidate mention rivers in general and the Moorabool in particular on their candidate page.
Sam McColl, Greens candidate for the seat of Eureka - a seat which encompasses most of the upper Moorabool - has been refreshingly clear:
"We must protect our precious wetland and river areas like the Moorabool River, the Werribee River, and the Woody Yaloak River."
His page can be found here: https://greens.org.au/vic/person/sam-mccoll
Mention also should go to Hillary McAllistar, Greens candidate for Polworth. Hillary screened the film The River Moorabool at her campaign launch in Torquay on the 3rd of November even though the river is outside her electorate. Her page can be found here: https://greens.org.au/vic/person/hilary-mcallister where she too mentions rivers.
If people find there are other candidates from other parties who have our rivers as part of their platform please let us know at
Candidates are also welcome to contact us directly to provide a quote which we will post on our site.
Paul Tatchel, Liberal candidate for Eureka has let us know:
"The river system is the life-blood of the Moorabool Shire, we must ensure it doesn’t go into cardiac arrest!"
His page can be found here: https://vic.liberal.org.au/team/paul-tatchell
Finally PALM is part of the Concerned Waterway Alliance which is "a network of community and environment groups from Gippsland to the Otways. We share a deep concern about the degraded state of southern Victoria’s rivers, wetlands and aquifers, and are committed to improving their health for the benefit of current and future generations."
They view this election has having 3 important themes:
- Water leadership in the climate crisis
- Lock in targets for sustainable water use
- Measure and monitor all the water we take from rivers and aquifers.
On their page at concernedwaterwaysalliance.org contains the above election briefers on these themes.
Please feel free to download them and hand them to candidates in your electorate.
Authorised by: Cameron Steele, Coordinator People for A living Moorabool, 109 Kelly Rd Bannockburn 3331
Earlier this month PALM was asked by a couple of landholders on the East Moorabool to visit the Bolwarrah Weir. The couple had expressed concerns about the level of willow infestation at the site and asked if there were plans to deal with problem given landholders were being encouraged to address weeds within their own frontages to the river.
The Bolwarrah Weir is a 122ML impoundment on the highly degraded East Moorabool River between the Korweinguborra and Bostock Reservoirs. The weir wall is constructed from bluestone and was spilling when we attended.
Owned and operated by Barwon Water the weir has an offtake point which feeds a channel leading downstream of the weir. It ultimately goes to supply the Stoney Creek Reservoirs at Durdidwarrah and in turn the city of Geelong and other smaller towns.
Unfortunately while much of the site is well kept the willow infestation was very much evident. Concerningly there is propagation off Barwon Water's holding and into downstream neighbouring properties.
PALM reached out to Barwon Water and they have committed to looking into the issue and we look forward to informing people of their response.
PALM believes it is incumbent of water authorities such as Barwon Water and Central Highlands Water who use the river as a resource to be not only good neighbours but set a wider example of stewardship and care for this quite degraded river, the East Moorabool.
This weir is also a strong candidate for a fish and eel ladder at some stage in the future.
Update: PALM has been contacted by a Barwon Water representative and informed that the organisation intends to address the willows and other weeds at the Bolwarrah weir and will be instituting a program of works to managed weed issues on other similar parcels of land. While we will have to see what is put in place the fact they appear to be taking ownership of the issue is a great first step.
Update 2: PALM Coordinator Cameron Steele met with members of Barwon Water and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority on site at Bolwarra Weir on Thursday the 21st July 2022.
Discussions around planned willow removal and native revegetation were very positive. There is little doubt that Barwon Water is serious about actioning issues not only at this site but within other areas they manage. This site has the potential to become a rich, biodiverse area that ceases impacting downstream properties with willow infestation.