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Hattah Lakes

Watering events 2014–15

Between May 2014 and January 2015, 105 GL of water was pumped into Hattah Lakes, inundating around 6100 ha of lakes and floodplain, improving the health of lake and floodplain vegetation. River red gum and black box vegetation communities received water, some for the first time in 20 years, while several species of native fish and waterbirds bred during the event.

Lake Hattah during the 2014–15 environmental watering event
Lake Hattah during the 2014–15 environmental watering event. (Photo: Vic Hughes, MDBA)
Banded  Stilts feeding at Lake Bitterang, 2014
Banded Stilts feeding at Lake Bitterang, 2014 (Photo: Vic Hughes, MDBA)
A Cormorant  nesting at Hattah Lakes, 2014
A Cormorant nesting at Hattah Lakes, 2014 (Photo: Mallee CMA).

Around 60 GL of water was returned to the River Murray, bringing nutrients including organic carbon and native fish also returned to the river from the lakes.

The watering took the water management structures close to their full design capacity. The Living Murray (TLM), the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder provided water for this event.

Ecological objectives

There are four high-level ecological objectives for the Hattah Lakes:

  • restore its wetlands and floodplain communities to health to maintain the  ecological character of the Ramsar site
  • maintain high-quality native fish habitat in its wetlands and support successful native fish breeding events  
  • provide feeding and breeding habitat for a range of waterbird species
  • provide conditions for successful breeding of colonial nesting waterbirds at least twice every 10 years.

About Hattah Lakes

The Hattah Lakes icon site is part of the 48,000 ha Hattah–Kulkyne National Park in north–west Victoria. The site includes over 20 semi-permanent freshwater lakes which support black box and river red gum communities plus a variety of native animals. The lakes are important breeding places for waterbirds. Hattah Lakes are part of the Ramsar-listed Hattah–Kulkyne Lakes.

TLM has built water environmental management structures at Hattah Lakes. These include a pumping station, regulators and levee banks. The structures allow the more efficient use of available environmental water. Water is pumped into the icon site, held there by regulators and later released back into the Murray river. This simulates a natural flood, but uses much less water.

Watch the 'Returning water to Hattah Lakes' videos

Past watering events

Water Year

Volume*

Outcomes

2013–14

67 GL

  • Successful first commissioning of environmental water management structures.
  • Watering of river red gums, benefits for native fish and breeding of some native birds.  

2012–13

Nil

Not watered because of the construction of water management structures.

2011–12

Nil

Not watered because of the construction of water management structures.

2010–11

17.3 GL

  • Watering of river red gums, including those at Lake Kramen which had not received water since 1993.
  • Benefits for native fish (fly-specked hardyhead, Murray rainbowfish and carp gudgeon) and breeding of waterbirds (Eurasian coot and Grey teal).

2009–10

2.3 GL

Reversal of the decline of fringing river red gums in Hattah Lakes and surrounding wetlands and extended duration of drought refuge for waterbirds, turtles and frogs.

* Note that volumes may include water from TLM, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.

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12 March 2015

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