Water

Environmental flood levels criticised

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December 12, 2017

Environmental targets not met. . .Goulburn Valley Environment Group president John Pettigrew says the Victorian Government is not meeting its obligations.

High level . . . The Goulburn River, behind Victoria Park Lake in Shepparton, near peak level after recent heavy rainfall.

Environmental targets set out in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan for the lower Goulburn River will not be met under new constraint projects.

That is according to Goulburn Valley Environment Group president John Pettigrew, who says the Victorian Government is not doing its job in terms of delivering environmental flows across the region.

‘‘The Victorian Government is failing to meet obligations under the basin plan to provide for the efficient and effective delivery of environmental flows through our Goulburn Valley,’’ he said.

‘‘The Victorian Government has an obligation to all communities along the Goulburn River in maintaining the health of our river and must balance the interests of the environment, communities and the handful of influential landholders who appear to be dictating government policy.’’

Mr Pettigrew accused the new project of being ‘‘highly restricted’’.

‘‘The new Goulburn constraints project is a highly restricted version of a previous project to water the lower Goulburn floodplain and is designed to provide in-channel outcomes only.’’

Mr Pettigrew said the new constraints project for the Goulburn went against what the community had discussed in relation to flows.

‘‘This undermines previous community consultancy work based on up to 10000 to 15000Ml/day in the mid-Goulburn (Eildon to Seymour) and 25000 to 30000Ml/day at Shepparton.

‘‘The new Goulburn constraints project targets will not exceed 9500Ml/day in the mid-Goulburn which is the same as flow restrictions for irrigation deliveries.

‘‘The 20000Ml/day at Shepparton is a theoretical figure, as risk management will dictate a 10 per cent margin of error reducing the flows to around 18000Ml/day,’’ he said.

Mr Pettigrew said there was no reason to reduce the flows.

He said the recent flood peaking in Shepparton on December 5 reached a flow rate of 23000Ml/day with no reported damage or inconvenience on private land.

‘‘The river height in Shepparton reached 8.95m, 0.55m below the minor flood level (9.5m).’’

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