The Anglesea River (known as Kuarka Dorla to the Wadawurrung, and Swampy Creek to early settlers) has always been important to local people who appreciated its cultural, economic, social and environmental values. In particular, the riparian vegetation is of high quality.
Early ANGAIR members surveyed its flora and fauna and made a considerable contribution to its rehabilitation after the 1983 Ash Wednesday fire left burning peat. Mary White’s recommendations were largely accepted by the Shire of Barrabool.
More recently, the environmental values of the river have deteriorated and the estuary has remained closed for longer periods of time.
ANGAIR has been an active member of the Anglesea River Working Group (ARWG) since its inception about eight years ago. The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority recently commissioned GHD consultants to carry out a Flows Study to determine what flows would be required to restore the ecological health of the river. The draft findings of this report were considered by the ARWG. The preliminary findings are outlined below.
The impact of climate change on flows in the river forms an important consideration in the report. Readers might be interested in the recently released Victorian Water and Climate Initiative findings which can be found at https://www.water.vic.gov.au/climate-change/research/vicwaci/new-findings. The outcomes of the Long-Term Water Resources Assessment (LTWRA) can also be found on the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning website.
The preliminary findings of the Flows Study include the following:
The results of this study will be taken into account in making decisions about the future of water resources management in the catchment. Important issues include the use of the Lower Eastern View aquifer for our emergency water supply, the mechanism to partly fill the mine void at Alcoa, frequency of estuary openings and future planning for a resilient town as our climate changes and sea level rises.
Barwon Water is continually monitoring the water levels in the Perched Water Table, the Upper Eastern View aquifer and the Lower Eastern View aquifer and also terrestrial and ecological values. The results of this monitoring can be found on the Barwon Water website at https://www.yoursay.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/anglesea-borefield. It is updated regularly.
Christine Forster AM.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.