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Flows for the Future

Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges sites passing low flows

358 and counting

Why we need connected, healthy water catchments

As Australians, we all know how valuable water is. Without healthy sources of water, we, our native animals, critical ecosystems, and our ability to use the land for production will suffer. By looking after the health of our catchments today, we can help ensure future land managers have the opportunity to farm viably and be surrounded by healthy ecosystems that are in the best position to survive in the years to come.

The Flows for the Future Program has been established to ensure the long term viability of catchment health within the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges (EMLR).

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.

What’s the problem?

Many water catchments in the EMLR are in poor condition, with some parts struggling without flowing water for longer than they’ve ever had to in the past. 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.

What is the Flows for the Future Program?

Productive and sustainable businesses need healthy water catchments. The Flows for the Future Program aims to improve the health and resilience of catchments in the EMLR.

By funding the design and restoration of ‘low flows’ on dams and watercourse diversions, the program is restoring more natural stream flows throughout the stream systems that bring life to the EMLR.

There are more than 8,000 dams in the EMLR alone. These devices allow low flows of water to pass around dams into the streamline below during natural periods of flow (via rainfall, runoff etc.).

Low flows are crucial for sustaining a minimum level of catchment health. We know that one of the biggest causes of deteriorating catchment health in the Mount Lofty Ranges is the absence of low flows and the Flows for the Future Program is working hard to reinstate this critical water flow pattern.

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.

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 are ‘priority sites’ and are the most efficient places to pass low flows.

Since the landscape, infrastructure and flow rates are unique at every property, there is no ‘one size fits all’ option to passing low flows. Each device is tailored to the priority dam or watercourse diversion, in collaboration with the relevant landholders.

How to get involved

If your property has been identified as a priority site, a field officer from the Department for Environment and Water will contact you to discuss the funding and options available to you.

If you’d like to discuss your dam or watercourse diversion, or would like to be kept in the loop about the Flows to the Future Program, please use the feedback form or contact us using the details to the right of this page.

Related information

More information

Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator, Flows for the Future