Low flow project improves health of water catchments
By ANDREW CURTIS, Livestock SA Chief Executive Officer
Water catchment health in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges is showing improvement thanks to the Flows for the Future initiative implemented by Livestock SA and the Department for Environment and Water.
Catchments in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges, from the Marne Saunders catchment in the north to the Currency Creek catchment in the south, experience significantly reduced flows and are in poor condition, which is in part due to the 8000 dams in the region.
The aim of the Flows for the Future program is to improve catchment health by bringing some water back to the environment without significantly impacting the water security and production capacity of landholders.
The Program funds specially designed devices which are installed on landholders’ properties to allow small amounts of water to pass around dams during periods of low flow while medium to high flows still flow into dams.
Livestock SA has played a key role in the significant participation and uptake of the funding from the South Australian and Federal Governments by actively engaging with landholders.
Farm dams generally fill during periods of high flows and the low flow diversions are designed to have a minimal impact upon storages while producing significant benefits downstream for native flora and fauna.
Some dams and watercourse diversions have more influence on the pattern of flow than others. These are known as priority sites and are the most efficient places to pass low flows.
Low flows are only a small proportion of the total natural water flow passing through a catchment but have a big impact on water-dependent ecosystems by keeping catchments wetter for longer.
Feedback from landholders has shown the positive impacts the Program is having on creeks and waterways, some of which are now flowing at times of the year when they would normally be dry.
Participation in the Program is voluntary and the project team works closely with each landholder to tailor a solution specific to their individual property and needs.
As of May this year, 1074 sites have been allocated as a priority and 400 sites have had devices installed.
Livestock SA encourages landholders with a priority site to participate. The project team will make contact to discuss the funding and options available for these landholders.
For more information on the project and how to get involved, visit landscape.sa.gov.au/mr/water/flows-for-the-future.
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