Flows for the Future
Why we need Flows for the Future
As Australians, we all know how valuable water is. Without it our animals, our land, and the sustainability of production will suffer. By looking after the health of our catchments today, we can help ensure future land managers have the opportunity to farm and be viable.
The Flows for the Future Program has been established to ensure the long term viability of catchment health within the Eastern Mount Lofty Rages (EMLR).
The Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges (EMLR) is a major contributor to South Australia’s economy, generating $440 million in agricultural production each year. It is a prime tourism destination and home to many farmers and rural lifestyle properties. The EMLR are the traditional lands of the Ngadjuri, Kaurna, Peramangk and Ngarrindjeri people. Freshwater is core to culture and identity of Aboriginal peoples across the Murray-Darling Basin. The freshwater systems bring life to the EMLR and inextricably link people and culture to Country and all living things.
Many water catchments in the EMLR are in poor condition, with some parts going without flowing water for longer periods than they used to flow. While dams are crucial because they provide water security, their combined impact with watercourse diversions has changed the pattern and amount of water flowing through the Mount Lofty Ranges. Click here for a summary of the science and analysis of catchment heath.
Productive and sustainable businesses need healthy water catchments and the Flows for the Future Program is aimed at improving the health and resilience of high-priority catchments, including the Angas, Bremer and Marne Rivers and Saunders Creek.
What is the Flows for the Future Program?
Securing low flows is critical in re-establishing more natural water flow patterns in streams affected by water capture and use in the EMLR. To support strong and sustainable agriculture and tourism industries in the EMLR by restoring more natural stream flows throughout the system, the Australian Government and South Australian Government are investing $13.48 million in the Flows for the Future Program.
The investment will provide funds and technical expertise to landholders at priority sites for the supply and installation of devices designed to pass low flows through their property.
More information on the Flows for the Future Program is available here.
What area does the program include
The program will be delivered within the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Prescribed Water Resources Area. See the map for more detail about the area covered.
Sites that may be required to return low flows include licensed dams and watercourse diversions, as well as unlicensed dams with a capacity of 5 megalitres or more (unlicensed dams are excluded in the Marne River and Saunders Creek catchments).
Based on feedback from the community, the Flows for the Future Program is taking a strategic approach to site selection to get the best outcome for resources invested.
Some dams and watercourse diversions have more influence on the pattern of flow than others – these sites are the most effective places to secure low flows. The program will involve the installation of devices to pass low flows at up to 500 strategically located dams and watercourse diversions.
Since the landscape, infrastructure and flow rates are unique at every property, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to passing low flows. Each device is being tailored to the dam or watercourse diversion, in collaboration with the landholder.