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Hattah Lakes thrive thanks to water for the environment

The Ramsar-listed wetland of international significance, Hattah Lakes, is thriving thanks to the delivery of water for the environment over more than 10 years.
Published: 20 December 2021

With the use of major pumping infrastructure, these deliveries of water held aside for the environment have ensured the lakes can be filled to mimic natural flooding cycles. Without water for the environment the lakes would only have been filled twice since 2000.

The most recent watering occurred during autumn and spring 2021. The spring delivery started in October and finished towards the end of November with the target level being reached. Around 46 gigalitres (GL) of water was delivered to all 18 lakes in the system.

This long-term approach to delivering water has helped to:

  • support the growth and recruitment of wetland and river gum vegetation 
  • inundate dry wetlands to release nutrients to increase food web productivity
  • provide habitat to support waterbird breeding for the fourth time in the last decade
  • and support small-bodied fish.

Hattah Lakes supports many threatened and rare native species and provides a location for popular recreation activities such as camping, walking, bike riding and canoeing for the community.

The long-term delivery of water for the environment has enhanced the area and provided opportunities to learn more about the importance of the lakes and the ecosystems they support.

Hattah is one of the best sites in the Murray–Darling Basin to witness the benefits of life-giving water for the environment, as it is so dependent on this source. Before extensive river modification, the area relied on major flooding which broke riverbanks to fill all the lakes across the system.

Water for the environment was delivered by Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in partnership with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and other partner environmental water holders including The Living Murray Program.

Following the autumn watering, the Mallee CMA have told the story of bringing Hattah to life with water.


This report was funded by The Mallee Catchment Management Authority through The Living Murray. The Living Murray is a joint initiative funded by the New South Wales, Victorian, South Australian and Commonwealth Governments, coordinated by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

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