Snowy River high-flows set to commence

26 May 2017

The first of five planned high-flow environmental water releases to the Snowy River are set to commence in early June, DPI Water Acting Director Water Analytics, Brian Graham, said today.

“These high-flow water releases are designed to better mimic the natural flow characteristics that are seen in Snowy Mountain rivers, with the aim of improving the long-term health of the iconic Snowy River,” Mr Graham said.

“The release of environmental water into the Snowy River over a series of high-flow events has now been successfully trialled over a number of years.

“There are three scheduled releases during winter and two in spring this year, to reflect the natural timing of likely high-flow events.
“Downstream landholders are being encouraged to make appropriate plans ahead of the water releases, including moving stock or pumps and infrastructure to higher ground.”

The planned high-flow releases are:

  • Wednesday 14 June – equivalent peak flow 4,552 ML/d for 8 hours
  • Tuesday 27 June – equivalent peak flow 3,324 ML/d for 8 hours
  • Thursday 13 July – equivalent peak flow 3,552 ML/d for 8 hours
  • Wednesday 4 October – equivalent peak flow 13,000 ML/d for 8 hours (largest flow)
  • Wednesday 15 November – equivalent peak flow 4,121 ML/d for 8 hours

“This flow pattern includes a higher degree of daily and seasonal flow variability which assists the river to re-establish stream function, including scouring, and improve in-stream habitat.”

Mr Graham said the results from previous studies from DPI Water’s Snowy Flow Response Monitoring and Modelling Program, show the Snowy River is responding well to these seasonal high-flow events.

“The move to a main spring ‘flushing flow’ amongst a number of other smaller secondary release events over winter and spring has been demonstrated to make better use of the available water to establish a new smaller channel within the former channel of the Snowy River, wet the riparian zone and promote the establishment of aquatic and riparian vegetation,” said Mr Graham.

This year’s high-flow events will once again be given culturally significant names by Aboriginal elders, reflecting their respective community’s connection with the rivers of the Snowy Mountains.
Environmental water releases to the Snowy River are mandated under the Snowy Water Inquiry Outcomes Implementation Deed 2002, a tri-government agreement between the Australian, New South Wales and Victorian Governments, to achieve improvements in Snowy River health.

Further information about the Snowy River environmental releases is available on the DPI Water website – www.water.nsw.gov.au

Media contact: James Muddle 0407 103 507