In semi-arid climates such as the Wimmera River, where there can be periods of months to years of no flow, it is critical to preserve water-dependent species; this will be increasingly important with climate change. The Wimmera CMA manage drought refuge pools as part of their environmental water management and broader catchment and waterway management responsibilities.
The paper explores environmental water management options for drought refuge pools in a stretch of the Wimmera River between Dimboola and Jeparit, where it is typically difficult to deliver environmental water during drought periods. This is due to available volumes of environmental water and the conditions of the river upstream during drought conditions, which can include large losses through the system and refilling of refuge pools. We will share the process of mapping refuge pools, selecting priority sites for management, and establishing reach scale and site specific management strategies.