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Summary 2016–17

31.8 GL

water for the environment delivered at this site

25.1 GL

water used at this site

6.7 GL

flowing back to the river system

clipart representing water use


Water for the environment released a tick mark

Climate conditions

Flooding - Extensive and prolonged natural flooding in the area clipart of a drop of water


Are there works at this site? a tick mark

Works in use this year? a tick mark

Updated april 2017



Since 2010, the combination of natural floods and the delivery of water for the environment has helped to provide conditions for healthy wetland communities at Hattah Lakes. Wetlands are now dominated by aquatic plants with no encroachment of drought tolerant species. This signifies a return to a healthy wetland.


The improved condition of Hattah Lakes is providing great habitat for waterbirds. The number of different waterbirds visiting the lakes, and numbers of cormorants nesting and breeding, have both increased. This highlights the importance of the Hattah Lakes in providing wetland habitat in the dry Mallee region of the Murray–Darling Basin.


Students visited Hattah Lakes to take part in the Wetlands Learning Program to learn about the ecology of the lakes and how they’re managed. It’s also a great chance for students to understand how they can get involved as part of the local community. 


This was the second year in a row that the Dwarf-flathead Gudgeon was recorded, before 2015 only a single Dwarf Flat-head Gudgeon was recorded in 2010. This is a promising sign that the species has returned to the lakes. A natural flow trigger allowed Golden perch to move from the River Murray into Hattah Lakes to make use of the nursery habitat. Later, works were used to encourage them back to the river to grow.

Past reports for Hattah Lakes

  Overall   Vegetation Fish Waterbirds
flood icon2016-17 A   A A B
dry icon2015-16 A   A A B
moderate dry2014-15 A   - - A
moderate icon2013-14 B   A A D
flood moderate2012-13 C   B D C
wet icon2011-12 B   B A D
flood icon2010-11 C   D A D
dry icon2009-10 D   C D D
dry icon2008-09 D   D D D
dry icon2007-08 D   D D D
dry icon2006-07 -   - - -
dry icon Dry flood icon Very Wet
wet icon Wet moderate icon Moderate

Each year, water is released into the environment depending on the climatic conditions. See the outcomes of water over time for a long-term view of how natural and released water affects the health of rivers.

a map of the Murray-Darling Basin see-our-progress MURRAY RIVER ADELAIDE Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Deniliquin Goolwa SOUTHAUSTRALIA VICTORIA NEW SOUTH WALES Barmah-Millewa Forest Hattah Lakes Lower Lakes, Coorong &Murray Mouth GunbowerForest Lindsay, Mulcra & Wallpolla Islands Blanchetown Mildura Swan Hill Albury-Wodonga Echuca ChowillaFloodplains

Current activities

Following five years of natural flooding and delivery of water for the environment, Hattah Lakes is planning a drying phase in 2018/19. This will be guided by weather conditions and the potential for any naturally triggered flows into the system.

Monitoring is being undertaken to document the changes in vegetation as the floodplain dries. This will help managers understand what happens on the floodplain after water for the environment has been delivered.

With the increased health of Black Box woodlands over the past six years, the flowering of the trees has attracted a large number of woodland birds. Observations have indicated that the aggressive Noisy Minor may be excluding smaller birds from the woodlands. As the floodplain dries out, it will be important to monitor if there is competition between species for resources.


Black box
Black box
Emu at Hattah Lakes
Emu at Hattah Lakes
Lake Kramen
Lake Kramen
Lake Mournpall
Lake Mournpall
A native plant
A native plant
Wetlands learning program at Hattah Lakes
Wetlands learning program at Hattah Lakes