Environment Victoria (EV) and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) warmly welcome the decision by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) to restart pumping environmental water allocations into the endangered Hattah Lakes National Park.
“The water being pumped into Hattah is a drop in the ocean compared to irrigation water use, but it is absolutely vital if Hattah is going to have a chance at survival. The water is part of a water entitlement held by the Victorian Government on behalf of the environment and subject to the same rules and limitations as equivalent licences held by irrigators,” said Dr Paul Sinclair, Director of Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers Campaign.
“If dry conditions continue, Hattah will become one of the last refuges for wildlife right along the Murray River. When conditions improve wildlife from Hattah will then have a chance to bring the river to life again.”
DSE had announced pumping would be suspended on Friday 10 November. Hattah Lakes is a wetland system of international significance on the Murray River. It is a priority site for rehabilitation in the $500 million Living Murray Initiative and is visited by 70,000 people each year.
EV and ACF congratulated those irrigators in the Mildura area who continued to support the emergency pumping of water into Hattah Lakes.
“Irrigators around Mildura led the nation by donating water to the Murray River last season. That’s real stewardship of the river that we need more of,” said Dr Arlene Buchan, ACF Healthy Rivers Campaigner.
“Hattah brings thousands of tourists into the region and is loved by people from Mildura to Melbourne and beyond. Today’s decision by DSE shows it is prepared to listen to the thousands of Victorians who want a healthy Murray River that can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Dr Buchan.