01 Sep Caitlin Davis
Caitlin Davis, Australia
Caitlin Davis has been a Senior Environmental Water Coordinator with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) for four years. The VEWH is an independent statutory authority responsible for managing Victoria’s environmental water entitlements to achieve environmental benefits for Victoria’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains. Caitlin has also worked in water policy development and research.
Presentation Title: Making every drop count
There has been a significant amount of effort to recover water for the environment through Victorian state processes and more recently through the Murray Darling Basin Plan. To achieve the greatest benefit with a limited amount of water, we need to be efficient and coordinated in how we use it. The connected river and floodplain systems of northern Victoria and the lower Murray provide opportunities to achieve multiple environmental benefits as water flows through the system, as one water release can hit several ecosystem targets in different locations as it moves downstream. Each year, waterway managers, environmental water holders and storage managers in northern Victoria (and the broader southern Murray-Darling Basin) work together to deliver effective and efficient environmental outcomes in three key ways. Firstly, reusing environmental return flows, such as environmental flows in the Goulburn River continue through to the Murray River and can be reused at other environmental assets like Hattah Lakes near Mildura, or Chowilla Forest in South Australia. Secondly, maximizing environmental benefits from consumptive water on its way to users. Finally, combining environmental and consumptive water releases to achieve greater results, for instance, environmental water can ‘piggyback’ on other water deliveries to achieve larger flows required to trigger fish breeding. Coordinated and efficient water use provides multiple benefits to the environment, and helps reduce the volume of water needed to be recovered for the environment from consumptive water users.