From the high country, to the rainforests, wild rivers, lakes and beaches – Gippsland is blessed with some of Victoria's most beautiful natural landscapes. It attracts 1.5 million visitors a year, is a food-lovers paradise and a favourite destination for outdoor adventurers.
When we think of Gippsland, we tend to think wet and green. But even this usually lush corner of south-eastern Australia has not been spared the impact of climate change.
While Gippsland is fortunate to have some of Victoria's healthiest river systems, in-flows to these rivers has decreased by 41 per cent over the past 12 years of drought. The decline is exactly the same as the one predicted by the CSIRO's extreme climate change scenario for 2055.
More than 95 percent of the water used in Gippsland is sourced from rivers, yet the rivers themselves have very few rights to a share of their own. Water entitlements for the environment help sustain the ecological health of the rivers. But the freshwater flows from these rivers are also vital for nourishing the valuable Gippsland Lakes and associated wetlands.
We need a strong plan of action to protect our rivers
Gippsland was the focus of the Victorian Government's Sustainable Water Strategy in 2009 and 2010. The aim of the strategy is to assess the region's water resource availability and the demands on the area over the next 50 years. The process is a critical opportunity to find a better balance between water for consumption and water for a healthy environment.
Under the spotlight through this process will be the big Gippsland water users – including coal-fired power stations and the irrigation industry.
Environment Victoria will be using this opportunity to promote a clean energy future for Gippsland. As the strategy is developed, we'll be working with the people of Gippsland to speak up for the region's rivers. We'll be calling for a better balance between water for consumption and water for a healthy environment.
Read about how we helped save the Mitchell River and why we're ready to defend it again.
Help us keep Gippsland lush, green and healthy
Find out how replacing Hazelwood can return water to Gippsland Lakes. Hop here