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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 lands 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 works delivered on the Barwon River.

Corangamite CMA, Barwon Water, Colac Otway Shire and Department of Transport are continuing to work together to monitor and manage any potential impacts of higher flows in the Upper Barwon River.  This update will share the latest information on the West Barwon Reservoir storage level, information on the recent Birregurra-Forrest Road repairs and how to keep informed on the Corangamite CMA’s Flagship Program.  

West Barwon Reservoir predicted to spill

The West Barwon Reservoir is nearing capacity and is currently 99.4% full.
 
Since early March, there has been a total of 143 mm of rainfall at Mt Sabine and 72 mm at West Barwon, resulting in the West Barwon reservoir increasing by almost 800 megalitres.  
 
It is likely that the reservoir will spill over the coming days or weeks with spilling volumes dependent on localised rainfall over the coming days.
 
While this is unusual for March (with storage typically on decline at the end of summer), heavy rainfall in the catchment has led to high levels at the reservoir. To put it into context, at the beginning of this week, seven days into March, rainfall at Mount Sabine was already at 200 per cent of the 10-year average.
 
Barwon Water is monitoring the reservoir levels and weather closely, and we are working with them together with Colac Otway Shire and Department of Transport on an inter-agency approach to share information and plan for any possible impacts of what modelling predicts will be a minor spill. Impacts downstream are not expected unless there is further significant rain.
 
Transfers from the West Barwon Reservoir to the Wurdee Boluc Reservoir ceased in December 2021 as per normal operations. During this time Barwon Water has undertaken its East Barwon willows removal project and continued to release summer environmental flows. Barwon Water will look to recommence transfers in April as transfer channel maintenance activities and the willow removal project concludes. This is in line with normal seasonal harvesting operations.
 
Barwon Water strongly encourages any visitors to the West Barwon Reservoir over the coming days and weeks to take care and observe all safety advice and signage.  This includes sticking to designated walking paths and tracks, observing permitted reservoir recreation activities including bird watching, fishing from the bank, bike riding and bushwalking.  Please note, swimming or any on water activities are not permitted at the reservoir.
 
Given the high summer rainfall, high storage levels and upcoming wet weather over winter, it is anticipated that further spill events will occur at the West Barwon Reservoir this year. All agencies will continue to monitor and plan for such events and provide timely updates to the community.
 
If you have any inquiries about the West Barwon Reservoir, please contact 1300 656 007 or visit https://www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/community-and-education/recreational-areas  
 
To keep up to date on reservoir storage levels, please visit: https://www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/water-and-waste/water-storages/geelong-region

Driving around flooded roads

High rainfalls can lead to arterial and local roads being closed intermittently for the safety of road users. Please follow detours, drive to the conditions, and never enter floodwaters.

For real-time traffic information please visit VicTraffic or via the VicTraffic mobile app.

If you see any problems on the roads, please report them to the Traffic Management Centre on 13 11 70 (open 24/7). In an emergency call Triple Zero (000).

To learn more about the Birregurra-Forrest Road repairs completed in October last year please visit the Regional Roads Victoria website

Short term works to improve flow

Works have been contracted to alleviate the flood risk posed by instream infestations of Glyceria maxima on the road infrastructure.

 

Expert engineers completed a modelling exercise in September 2021 to determine what impact targeted removal of instream Glyceria (an invasive aquatic weed) would have on the extent of flooding. Currently Glyceria creates instream blockages to water flow that contribute to flooding. The study looked at different flow scenarios and impacts of removing the Glyceria on erosion and floodplain inundation.

 

In the short term, the Corangamite CMA is looking to reduce the potential for the road to flood and ensure more water can move downstream when water levels are high. Achieving this will not prevent floods from happening but would reduce the extent of localized flooding.

The Corangamite CMA will remove 2.6 km of Glyceria on the West Barwon to alleviate flooding risks to the Birregurra-Forrest Road bridge . These works will include revegetation of the riverbank to increase shade.
 
Mechanical removal of Glyceria is only a short-term solution. Under current conditions, even with removal of Glyceria, the weed will continue to grow instream and impede river flow. To achieve longer term river health outcomes, we need to improve flow quantity and establish riparian vegetation along significant stretches of the Upper Barwon River. Shading by native vegetation and improved flow, support the long-term control of Glyceria.

 

 

Upper Barwon Flagship Program

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) has identified the Upper Barwon River as the focus for investment as part of our Barwon Flagship Waterway project. The Upper Barwon River has been chosen because of the extensive infestations of Willow and Glyceria, and restrictions to the delivery of environment water to improve waterway health. Flagship waterways are large-scale rehabilitation projects happening across the state of Victoria.
 
The Upper Barwon Flagship Project will be delivered as a large scale, long term (30 year) project. During 2022 - 2024 the initial focus of the Flagship Project in the Upper Barwon is about working together with landholders, key agencies and community groups to develop and implement strategies to enhance riparian management practices and improve the delivery of environmental water further down the Barwon River.


A comprehensive update about the Upper Barwon Flagship Program will be issued in the next week.

 

Subscribe to stay updated

This e-news has been created to provide interested community members with updates about the Upper Barwon River, including river health projects being planned and delivered, environmental water, new research and studies, and other information relating to river health. To subscribe to receive these updates please visit the CCMA website.

 

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*|CCMA |* *|UPPER BARWON UPDATE|*

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