Environmental watering plan released

The VEWH has released its plans for delivering water to the environment

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DRY START: The Victorian Environmental Water Holder is expecting a dry start to the coming season, and will adjust environmental watering priorities accordingly.

DRY START: The Victorian Environmental Water Holder is expecting a dry start to the coming season, and will adjust environmental watering priorities accordingly.

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Seasonal conditions will drive environmental water delivery.

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The Victorian Environmental Water Holder has released its roadmap for delivering water to the environment, for the next 12 months.

The VEWH's Seasonal Watering Plan 2019-20 sets out where and when water for the environment could be delivered under different climate scenarios - from drought to dry and average to wet.

VEWH co-chief executive Beth Ashworth said specific water deliveries for individual rivers and wetlands would be driven by seasonal conditions and water availability across the Gippsland, Central, Northern and Western regions.

Ms Ashworth said manager were expecting a dry start, to 2019-20.

"We saw very dry conditions and low flows into major water storages across most of the state in 2018-19, and - at this stage - that's predicted to continue," Ms Ashworth said.

Ms Ashworth said management tools like carryover helped water entitlement holders, including the VEWH, manage water in dry times.

"Carrying over some water from the previous year means we can ensure reliable supply for critical environmental needs in the early parts of the year, giving the rivers and wetlands a much-needed drink in spring, even if there are low water allocations," Ms Ashworth said.

"Spring is a very important time for plants and animals, because it is when they are at their most active - breeding, feeding and growing.

"Even when conditions are dry, watering for the environment is very important to provide the flows needed to maintain our native fish and bird populations and help them survive."

The VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2019-20 has been developed with waterway managers across the state, together with local communities and increasingly, input from Traditional Owners.

"The Seasonal Watering Plan is based on good science, strong local knowledge and implemented with the primary aim of optimising environmental outcomes across the state," Ms Ashworth said.

"The flow on benefits to communities from healthy environments are enormous, including for recreation, tourism and local connections with waterways."

The Seasonal Watering Plan 2019-20 can be found at http://www.vewh.vic.gov.au/wateringprogram/seasonal-watering-plan.

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