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Moorabool River in Danger

In the March edition of the Bannockburn News, the Maude Landcare column raised concerns that rumours had been circulating that Barwon Water’s share of water in Lal Lal Reservoir may be transferred to Central Highlands Water.

These rumours were confirmed in a media release from Water Minister, Lisa Neville, dated March 6th 2016 titled: GOVERNMENT ACTS TO PROVIDE BALLARAT WITH WATER SECURITY.

Along with announcing that the State Government would buy 50 gigalitres of water from the Wonthaggi desalination plant, the media release also states:

 “Ballarat and Geelong currently both have access to water in Lal Lal Reservoir. Geelong can also access water from Melbourne's storages, which are set to be boosted with desalinated water. This allows Ballarat to access more water in the Lal Lal Reservoir, providing greater water security for the city.”

These announcements were made in conjunction with the release of the Government’s “Water for Victoria” discussion paper which is currently open for comment until 29th of April. 

So what are the implications for the Moorabool and its users?

It is only when you realise that the Barwon Water entitlement must flow down the Moorabool River from Lal Lal Reservoir to the Moorabool Treatment Plant at She Oaks that you can begin to understand the impact this water transfer would have on the river and its users.

For much of the summer/autumn period the only water that flows out of Lal Lal is the Barwon Water allocation being delivered to She Oaks. Of this, only a miniscule amount that is surplus to Barwon Water’s needs passes the She Oaks weir. Very little, if any, of this water makes it as far as Russells Bridge.

The only time that water reaches Batesford is when part of the meagre environmental water entitlement is “piggybacked” on Barwon Water releases to flush the river.

Without the Barwon Water allocation, the lower reaches of the Moorabool are unlikely to have water flow for much of the summer/autumn period. This will be disastrous for the health of the river and its inhabitants. People relying on the river for stock and domestic purposes will have to buy and cart water from elsewhere at great expense.

Local Landcare groups, along with People for A Living Moorabool (PALM), have organised an Information Session on this and other issues contained in the “Water for Victoria” discussion paper.

The Information Session is at the Meredith Memorial Hall supper room, Tuesday 12th of April at 7pm. Speakers will be from Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Southern Rural Water and PALM.

Come to our Information Session to find out what is being proposed by the Government and how you can have your say. Attendance at this session will be well worthwhile, including for those with “Riparian Rights” to stock and domestic water, as changes are proposed.

The State Government are accepting written submissions on the “Water for Victoria” discussion paper until April 29th. They are also holding consultation sessions on April 13th in Ballarat and April 18th in Geelong. Details at

Peter Stray
President, Maude & District Landcare Group


The Moorabool River at Russell's Bridge