Broken River review under way

By Geoff Adams

A project steering group of water users has been established as part of a review into the regulated Broken River system.

The review was announced by Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville in December and is looking into how the system will be managed in the future.

The project steering group overseeing the review is led by an independent facilitator and includes eight water entitlement holders and representatives from Goulburn-Murray Water, Goulburn-Broken CMA, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and North East Water. The group has met five times since being established earlier this year.

A DELWP spokesperson said the project steering group would oversee technical work that would be undertaken between October and December this year to help inform the development of those options.

The technical work being commissioned by the steering group will model system hydrology based on climate change projections to help inform the options for future management.

Following this work, a draft set of options will be provided to Broken system entitlement holders for consultation early in the new year before a final report with recommendations on how best to manage the system is submitted to the Water Minister by June 2021.

Irrigators have been calling for a review since before Lake Mokoan was decommissioned.

As part of the decommissioning process, which wrapped up in 2010, the bulk entitlements of the Broken system were amended to no longer include the Hollands and Ryans catchments, which is having an impact on the water being made available to farmers on the Broken system.

Farmers on the Broken are now totally reliant on water from Lake Nillahcootie, a small storage of 40 Gl at the top of the system, which means that tributaries downstream of the Broken may be running but, given it is not in the storage, they do not see this reflected in their allocation.