Victorian rivers feeling the effects of tight restrictions

Environmental experts are unconvinced of the North South pipeline’s proposed benefits and are worried about Victorian rivers’ declining water levels, especially Melbourne’s iconic Yarra.

Melbourne’s lifted water restrictions will come at a cost to river systems.

CEO of Environment Victoria Kelly O’Shanassy does not support the lifting of water restrictions in Victoria. She believes the State Government is committed to securing water for consumers but not for rivers.

“The Yarra River and Thomson River have been on restrictions for many many years. They were first to go on restrictions and the government didn’t lift the restrictions on the Yarra River,” she said.

Melbourne's iconic Yarra River

The North South pipeline pumps 75 billion litres of water from the Goulburn River to Melbourne every year.

Dr Grace Mitchell, an expert of sustainable water use at Monash University, agrees with the State Government’s pipeline idea.

“Supplying water to a city that has a lot of economic output could quite easily be posed as a higher value use than perhaps say something like irrigation of dairy in the Goulburn region,” she said.

Ms. O’Shanassy is critical of the State Government’s North South pipeline.

“Why would you take water from north of Victoria to south of Victoria where it is wetter and where we have other options? It doesn’t make sense but it was a quick fix,” she said.

Last year Victorian rivers recorded about 10% of normal annual flow.

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