As part of the Broken System Review in 2020-22, it was recommended a study into system reconfiguration options must be done to support the community to plan for reduced water availability in the future.
A Broken Reconfiguration Feasibility Study (BRFS) has been established to consider changes that could be made to the system’s configuration to better meet the region’s long-term needs.
Feasible reconfiguration options will be analysed to understand the socio-economic and other benefits they could provide. These draft options will be tested with stakeholders and the community to help to determine the preferred option/s.
Community drop-in sessions
The BRFS have recently held a series of in person and online community drop-in sessions to help the project team and specialists understand your perspective on what the key focus areas for the Feasibility Study need to include.
The BRFS team are busily compiling the feedback received. A summary of what we heard and the next steps will be uploaded to this page shortly.
Broken Reconfiguration Feasibility Study - Online drop-in session
Broken Reconfiguration Feasibility Study Consultative Committee
The study includes a Consultative Committee (BRFS CC) made up of community members and other key stakeholders to provide advice on local issues and consultation processes.
As part of the study, the Broken System has been divided into five zones for investigation, with representation across the committee.
The BRFS CC is made up of the following members, who each represent a zone:
- Chris Gibson (Benalla to Caseys Weir)
- Maureen Cottam (Benalla to Caseys Weir)
- Wayne Spinks (north of Caseys Weir)
- Neil Renshaw (Benalla to Caseys Weir)
- David Rush (Lake Nillahcootie to Benalla)
- Trevor Stedman (Gowangardie Weir to Shepparton, Caseys Weir to Gowangardie Weir)
- Craig Madden (Chair of the Goulburn Broken Regional Water Services Committee)
The Consultative Committee is an opportunity to guide the future of water management in the Broken River system and ensure local community insights and consideration shape the study. In addition to the BRFS CC, the study will also seek wider community valuable feedback and insights.
The results from the study will then be used to take advantage of current and future opportunities for funding changes to the way water is supplied and used in the system to best meet its needs going forward.
The Committee has held the first of an expected six meetings scheduled to be held in Benalla between September 2023 and May 2024.
Consultative Committee meeting summaries
The Broken River system is the regulated part of the Broken Basin in north-eastern Victoria. The basin covers an area of approximately 7,700 square kilometres.
Water in the system is managed through water entitlements and seasonal determinations. Allocations mainly rely on inflows into Lake Nillahcootie, as well as unregulated flows in the river coming from local tributaries like Hollands Creek.
Similar to other areas of northern Victoria, the Broken system is being impacted by climate change. Average annual inflows have declined, and water availability can greatly vary from year to year.
Because of this, it is challenging for water entitlement holders, including irrigators, and stock and domestic users, to plan their water use.
These issues were the subject of a review of the Broken system, which was completed in 2022.
A review of the Broken System has been undertaken considering the impact of dry conditions and low inflows on the system. The review also looked at water management changes that could help to deal with the changing climate.
A Project Steering Group of water entitlement holders led the review with support from the Victorian Government. The review included technical investigations and gathered feedback from entitlement holders.
In 2022, the review made seven recommendations to the Minister for Water about the future management of the system.
These included actions to improve water trading and the flexibility available to entitlement holders, investigations to improve access to water for critical domestic and stock needs in dry years, a focus on sustainable irrigation, and an investigation of options for system reconfiguration.
All seven recommendations were accepted and are being implemented. The Broken Reconfiguration Feasibility Study is one of these recommendations.