Gippsland’s importance to Victoria’s water ecology is hard to overstate. An average 7,000 GL of surface water flows through the regional annually, providing habitat for a multitude of vegetation types, water birds, fish and frog species, as well as providing much needed water for numerous dependent communities and farming enterprises.
The West Gippsland CMA (WGCMA) ably manages the waterways and resources each year, guided by the Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy which identifies the challenges for water management and opportunities to secure the region’s water supplies for the coming decades.
In preparation for a new iteration of the Sustainable Water Strategy, which will be developed in 2019-2020 for the Southern Region, WGCMA engaged Alluvium to develop an understanding of of environmental water requirements and shortfalls in the Latrobe system.
This body of work included a review of the ecological objectives and conceptual modes, update to the hydraulic can hydrodynamic modelling, and development of recommendations in line with the current FLOWS and EEFAM methods, including recommendations for different climatic years.
A key component of this study was to identify the risks of not delivering the environmental water and the benefits of delivering the recommendations (inclusive of environmental, social, cultural and economic values) and clearly link risk/benefit with specific components of the shortfall.
Our approach to this project included the integration of economic analysis with ecological risk assessments to enable a ‘benefits transfer’ approach that enables triple bottom line outcomes to be assessed from changes in environmental water provision.