BARWON Water recently released six million litres of water from Painkalac Reservoir into Painkalac Creek as part of an environmental flows program for the waterway.
The local water authority said engagement with the local community had helped drive the positive outcome for the health of the creek near Aireys Inlet, after the reservoir was taken out of service in 2016.
The townships of Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven were connected to the Geelong supply system via a pipeline from Anglesea in May of that year.
Barwon Water general manager customers and community Jo Murdoch said the first environmental release was a significant milestone for the community members who had been involved in the project.
“This outcome is great example of the value of engaging with local communities. The feedback and views shared by the members of the environmental flows group ensured Barwon Water and the CCMA delivered a positive outcome that meets community expectations.”
Barwon Water worked closely with the community and stakeholders, including the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA), to identify possible future uses of the reservoir, find the right balance between protecting the surrounding environment and encouraging recreational activities and establish a revised environmental watering plan.
In line with the recommendations of a separate Painkalac Reservoir Future Uses Community Group, the reservoir was opened to the public for walking, bird watching and recreational fishing in 2017.
The environmental water flows are being monitored through a Deakin University PhD project looking at the role citizen science can play in assessing the ecological response to environmental flows from Painkalac Reservoir.