High hopes for spring flows

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

The Wim­mera River is primed to con­tinue flow­ing deep into spring if weather in the up­per catch­ment fol­lows tra­di­tional pat­terns.

Sev­eral nat­u­ral flows are grad­u­ally head­ing down the river to Jeparit, the largest pulse peak­ing at 1000 me­gal­itres, or 1000 mil­lion litres, a day.

Other pulses gen­er­ated from win­ter run-off range between 100 and 800 me­gal­itres a day.

An on­set of dryer weather fin­ish­ing off the sea­son has meant flows have started tail­ing off but catch­ment mon­i­tors re­main hope­ful spring rain will pro­vide a trig­ger for more wa­ter in the next cou­ple of months.

Wim­mera Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive David Bren­nan said spo­radic rain in the re­gion had led to a vari­abil­ity in flow regimes.

“The largest of pulses should just about be at Jeparit – it nor­mally takes about three weeks to get there – and this on-and-off rain pat­tern has been pro­vid­ing surges lead­ing to what ap­pears as a me­an­der­ing flow,” he said.

“What is good about what’s hap­pen­ing in the river is that, his­tor­i­cally, our large in­flow months are September and Oc­to­ber. This means the river is well po­si­tioned lead­ing into the high-yield­ing months.

“Fin­gers crossed it keeps on rain­ing and pro­vides a cir­cum­stance where the river con­tin­ues to run un­der its own steam well into the warmer months.”

Mr Bren­nan said de­spite healthy flows mak­ing their way from the river’s source in the Pyre­nees to the ‘al­ways thirsty’ lower catch­ment, ex­pec­ta­tions were that it would

have lit­tle im­pact on Lake Hind­marsh, the first of ter­mi­nal lakes at the end of the system.

He said the catch­ment had started from an ‘ex­tremely’ dry base and had taken con­sid­er­able rain to be­come sat­u­rated.

“We’d be happy if we could get a trickle into the mouth of Lake Hind­marsh but what’s hap­pen­ing at the mo­ment will be of lit­tle con­se­quence in re­gard to putting wa­ter into the lake,” he said.

“But the good news is that right along the river, this wa­ter is pro­vid­ing a re­fresh­ing boost to aquatic life. It will do ev­ery­thing from trig­ger­ing a boom in macro-in­ver­te­brates such as in­sects and crus­taceans to help out an­glers with a bet­ter sum­mer catch than they might pre­vi­ously have had.

“It’s a win for the en­vi­ron­ment as well as com­mu­ni­ties that rely on the river for its so­cio-eco­nomic benefits. We’ll wait and see whether it con­tin­ues – it will great if it does.”

Wim­mera head­works stor­age levels last week showed the system was sit­ting at 42.71 per­cent full, down from 51.95 per­cent for the same time last year.

The re­gion’s primary pipe­line sup­ply im­pound­ment Lake Bell­field at Halls Gap was 75 per­cent full, and key trans­fer lake Tay­lors Lake, south-east of Horsham, at 60 per­cent.

Fig­ures also showed Lake Fyans near Stawell at 78 per­cent, nearby Lake Lons­dale at 37, Grampians lakes War­took and Moora Moora at 58 and 71 re­spec­tively, Rock­lands at 32, Toolondo at 28, Mt Cole Reser­voir at 65 and Green Lake near Horsham at 65.

Gwmwa­ter of­fi­cials will up­date reser­voir fig­ures to­day.

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