Environmental flows are the flows of water in our rivers and streams that are necessary to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems. They are designed to mimic the natural condition in our rivers. Dams have obvious impacts on downstream flow, reducing the volume of flows, and sometimes changing the natural flow patterns. Environmental flows are necessary to reduce the impact of dams. In rivers and streams without dams, environmental flows are also necessary to minimise the effect that abstractions, diversions, or additions of flow may have.
In the ACT, the Water Resources ACT requires environmental flows to be defined for all water bodies in the ACT. Environmental flows are defined in the Environmental Flow Guidelines, first produced in 1999. The guidelines were reviewed in 2005-2006 to produced the current guidelines '2006 Environmental Flow Guidelines'. The Environmental Flow Guidelines set out the volumes and timings of environmental flows, and abstraction limits, in streams, rivers, lakes, and aquifers.
The Draft Environmental Flow Guidelines (2011) set out the environmental flow requirements needed to maintain aquatic ecosystems in the ACT. The Draft Environmental Flow Guidelines (2011) are a revision of the 2006 Environmental Flow Guidelines, updated using scientific knowledge gained during the past five years.
The Draft Environmental Flow Guidelines (2011) is available here. (326Kb)
Alternatively, you can obtain a copy from Canberra Connect shopfronts.
Written submissions on the Draft Environmental Flow Guidelines (2005) should be sent to:
Environmental Flow Guidelines
Water Resources Unit
Environment and Sustainable Development
GPO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601
Comments can also be emailed to WaterResources@act.gov.au or faxed to (02) 6207 6084.
For further information please call the Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.
Submissions closed 1 August 2011.