Melbourne Water will soon deliver a second summer fresh environmental water release down the Yarra River to counter the impact of low flows.
The release will see up to 3.6 billion litres of water replenish the river. This water is part of the Yarra River’s annual 17 billion litre allocation that is dedicated to maintaining the important environmental values in Melbourne’s iconic waterway.
Water will be released from the Upper Yarra, O’Shannassy and Maroondah Reservoirs to achieve the desired flow rates along the river and mimic its natural process.
Environmental water releases are also designed to flush fine sediment and organic material from the river bed, maintain habitat for bugs and fish life, and support native vegetation.
This release is the second delivered down the Yarra after a hot, dry summer, with further releases likely to take place throughout the year.
The operation of the Yering pump station will also be altered during this process to maximise natural flows.
Benefits of the release
Melbourne’s waterways have experienced low volumes of water over the summer due to prolonged periods of hot and dry weather. The main objective of this environmental water release is to improve water quality and scour sediment that has accumulated in waterways during the recent low flows.
This will improve the availability and quality of habitat for the river’s many aquatic inhabitants, including the regionally significant River Blackfish, Macquarie Perch and the platypus.
Environmental flow monitoring
During this release, river levels in the target area may be up to 20-90 cm higher, which is within the river’s usual level of variance. Detailed planning and close monitoring of water levels is undertaken during the release period.
Melbourne Water is working with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and other stakeholders in relation to this release. We will also monitor the response of the river and aquatic life closely following the event to inform future releases.