One of Australia’s largest environmental works projects has been completed at Hattah Lakes to secure a sustainable future for this iconic system of freshwater lakes.
If you would like to know information about the planned 2014 watering please click here.
The package of works included the construction of a permanent pump station, regulators and environmental levees, which will be used to return a more natural and healthy pattern of flooding to the lakes.
The beautiful Hattah Lakes system needs both wet and dry periods to be healthy, but river regulation and a changing climate have reduced the frequency and extent of natural floods and the environment has suffered as a result,” Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Board Chairperson Sharyon Peart explained.
“By constructing these works, it is now possible to top up natural floods to increase water levels in the lakes system or, when river flows are not able to naturally reach the lakes, water can be pumped into the system to maintain watering regimes.”
The Hattah Lakes system is part of the 48,000 hectare Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, 60 kilometres south of Mildura. The 18 kilometre Chalka Creek connects the lake system to the Murray River, with the lakes supporting populations of River Red Gums and Black Box communities, as well as many threatened and rare native plants and animals. These works will be able to deliver water to the twelve lakes that are Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar convention.
The Mallee CMA coordinated the environmental works construction project, on behalf of the Murray Darling Basin Authority and the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, and in partnership with Parks Victoria.
Funding was provided through The Living Murray program, which is a joint initiative funded by the New South Wales, Victorian, South Australian, Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth governments, coordinated by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority. Construction works were undertaken by Goulburn-Murray Water.
The works will be operated to deliver water and achieve environmental benefits that would be normally require a natural flood with river flows of nearly 100,000 megalitres a day over a number of months. The works will make it possible to achieve the environmental outcomes of a natural flood while the river is operating at normal flow levels (approx 5 to 10,000 ML/Day), without any impact on other river users.
Environmental water to be delivered to the lakes will come from a number of sources, including The Living Murray, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.
“Using environmental water effectively and efficiently has always been the top priority at Hattah Lakes,” Ms Peart said.
"The Hattah Project is a good example of how environmental works and measures can offer a more accessible and effective way to deliver Basin Plan environmental outcomes in wetlands and floodplains along the Murray.
“Using water more efficiently means environmental outcomes can be achieved without further significant economic impact on Basin communities."
Watering events at Hattah Lakes will be informed by water availability and ecological requirements.
Environmental structures at Hattah Lakes
Restoring the balance at Hattah Lakes
Returning Water to Hattah Lakes Episode 1 and Episode 2 look at the environmental works undertaken to benefit one of The Living Murray's icon sites.
Hattah Wins 2013 Banksia Sustainability Award for Water
Find out more:
To learn more about the environmental significance of Hattah Lakes, please visit the following website: