Groundwater meetings well attended

Wednesday 8 November, 2017

The way in which groundwater is managed in the Loddon catchment is being reviewed by Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) and recent meetings to discuss this proved useful for community members.

Three public meetings were held in October – in Serpentine and Baringhup to discuss the Mid-Loddon Groundwater Local Management Rules, and in Newlyn to discuss the review of the Loddon Highlands Water Supply Protection Area (WSPA) Groundwater Management Plan.

GMW General Manager Customer Operations Scott Barber said groundwater resources are highly valued in the Loddon catchment, providing an important source of water for domestic and stock use, irrigation, commercial and industrial use, and urban supply.

“There are more than 280 groundwater licence holders in the Loddon catchment authorised to take more than 55 gigalitres per year,” he said.

GMW Manager Groundwater and Streams Matthew Pethybridge said groundwater flows through the Deep Leads systems from Creswick to Kerang.

“By carrying out the reviews of both plans at the same time, this allows us to consider the management of water resources at a catchment scale.

“Overwhelmingly community feedback was that the plans have been very successful, noting the benefits of a capped resource, trading and carryover opportunities,” Mr Pethybridge said.

“The community were also able to identify opportunities for improvement at the public meeting,” he said.

In the south of the catchment, groundwater licence holders around Newlyn have been subject to water restrictions for the last three years.

“There were some questions regarding the trigger levels, which we’re taking into consideration as part of our review,” Mr Pethybridge said.

In the north of the catchment there were discussions about new groundwater licence applications outside of existing management plan areas, so the meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the licencing process and matters that need to be considered.

“Input from the community is highly valued. GMW will complete the review of the current management plans in coming months and the outcomes will be used to inform future management of the resource,” Mr Barber said.

The Loddon Highlands Water Supply Protection Area Groundwater Management Plan was approved by the Minister for Water in November 2012.

The Mid-Loddon Groundwater Management Area Local Management Rules were endorsed for implementation in July 2009.

If you would like to comment on the review please call Brendan Cossens at GMW on (03) 5475 3907.