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Traditional Owner Acknowledgement 

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) wishes to acknowledge the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung, Traditional Owners of the land of the Barwon River.  We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We commit to continuing to work with all Traditional Owners to ensure their knowledge and culture is included and valued in planning and delivery of water down the Barwon River.

Short Term Works Update 

The Corangamite CMA is currently working through the planning and approvals process required to be complete prior to short term works being undertaken.
Field staff have been meeting with landholders both up and downstream from the Birrregurra-Forrest Road. These site visits have been focused on gathering information on the state of the river along this stretch, extent of weed infestation, current flow and flooding patterns, and discussing with the landholders how they would like to see the river managed in future.
In addition, expert engineers have been appointed to complete a modelling exercise to determine what impact targeted removal of instream Glyceria would have. In particular looking at different flow scenarios and modeling impacts on downstream erosion, instream biodiversity, and native vegetation. This work is planned to be completed by the end of September.
Landholder consultations, the new modelling work, biodiversity and native vegetation management, and discussions with Traditional Owners regarding cultural heritage considerations, will all inform what works will be delivered and where. In the short term, the Corangamite CMA is looking to improve flow in the main channel of the river, to ensure more water can move down the main river in higher flows. Achieving this will not prevent floods from happening but would hopefully reduce the areas under localized flooding.
Current conditions in the Upper Barwon catchment are very wet. Conditions need to dry in order to safely undertake removal works. An excavator needs to be able to safely access the riverbank without damaging farmland or the riverbank itself. This year is notably a wet season, and it is likely safe access will not be available until late spring at the earliest.
Removal of Glyceria is only a short-term solution. Under current conditions, even with removal of Glyceria in the short term, the weed will continue to grow instream and impede river flow. To achieve longer term river health outcomes we need to improve flow and riparian vegetation needs to be established along significant stretches of the Upper Barwon River. Shading by native vegetation and improved flow support the long term control of Glyceria.

Birregurra-Forrest Road Update

To stay informed on progress to reopen Birregurra-Forrest Road please visit the Regional Roads Victoria website.


West Barwon Reservoir Update

The West Barwon Reservoir commenced spilling from 21 July, spilling has now ceased.  The total amount of water spilled to the environment was 8 gigalitres of water.
Barwon Water is again transferring water from the reservoir to its downstream reservoir at Wurdee Boluc, with approximately 80 megalitres per day being transferred.  In the event of more rainfall over the coming weeks and months, spillway flows are expected to return.
West Barwon Reservoir is currently sitting at 99.8% full with Wurdee Boluc at 85.7% full.
For more information on storage level, please visit:


East Barwon Willow Removal Update

Barwon Water is currently co-ordinating a project to rehabilitate a 3 kilometre section of the East Barwon River.   Barwon Water uses this section of the river to transfer water from its West Barwon Reservoir to the Wurdee Boluc Reservoir.
Willow infestation has caused loss of transfer capacity through this section of the East Barwon River, which reduces Barwon Water’s capacity to transfer water and leads to flooding of adjacent properties.
The project will involve the removal of the willows, remediation of the affected sections of the river through bank stabilisation, replanting with native vegetation and stock exclusion fencing. Barwon Water is working with Eastern Maar on a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project and collaborating with local landowners.
A tender for the removal of the willows was released in mid-August, with site visits completed earlier this week with prospective contractors.
The tender will close on 8 September and Barwon Water will share further updates with the community as the project progresses.

About The Upper Barwon Entitlement 

The Upper Barwon Environmental Entitlement was established in 2018 to provide water for the Barwon River system. The Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) is entitled to a 2000ML share of storage capacity in the West Barwon Reservoir, and 3.8% of inflows.  This results in approximately 1,000ML per year specific to the West Barwon Reservoir.  This entitlement is delivered by Corangamite CMA on behalf of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.

The current entitlement in the West Barwon Reservoir can provide environmental water directly to two reaches: the Upper Barwon east branch and the Upper Barwon west branch. The entitlement has a very limited impact downstream of Birregurra. It should be noted that although the West Barwon Reservoir is situated on the Upper Barwon west branch, water can be released down the Upper Barwon east branch (through a diversion channel) as well as to the Upper Barwon west branch.

Planning for the Environmental Entitlement 

Each year the CCMA develop proposed watering actions with community and partners for submission to the VEWH. Watering actions are based on scientific advice (FLOWS studies) and delivered in priority order according to water availability. The current year’s Seasonal Watering Proposal can be found on the CCMA website here. The CCMA website also has an interactive map of the Upper Barwon River which includes data on river flows, current and planned releases and other water parameters, you can view this here.

FLOWS Study and Water Shortfalls

The Upper Barwon, Yarrowee and Leigh rivers FLOWS study (Alluvium 2019) has recommended the following water recovery targets for the Barwon River. The current allocation of 1GL/year is drastically insufficient to meet the river’s health requirements, even when just considering the reaches that are immediately downstream of where the entitlement is held. The FLOWS Study can be viewed here

Stakeholder and Community Engagement

CCMA’s partner and stakeholder engagement on the Upper Barwon is primarily through the Upper Barwon Surface Water Advisory Group (UBSWAG). The Upper Barwon Surface Water Advisory Group (UBSWAG) was established by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) to provide feedback on surface water management planning in the Upper Barwon River to achieve environmental outcomes. The terms of reference and application form for the Upper Barwon Surface Water Advisory Group can be viewed here.

UBSWAG members include: Traditional Owner Groups, Upper Barwon Landcare Network, Winchelsea Landcare Group, individual landholders, Land and Water Resources Otway Catchment, Otway Agroforestry, Friends of the Barwon, Geelong Field Naturalists, Environment Victoria, Waterwatch volunteers, Southern Rural Water, Barwon Water, Colac Otway Shire, the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.

Biodiversity Update

The CCMA notes there has been community concern raised regarding biodiversity and specifically eel populations in the Upper Barwon River. The CCMA are looking into these concerns and will be able to provide a more comprehensive update in the next edition of the Upper Barwon Community Update.

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