Science underpins environmental water management in Victoria, with key areas of contribution including:
• the FLOWS method, Victoria’s approach for assessment of environmental water requirements for rivers. First released in 2002, FLOWS is underpinned by best available science, includes involvement of local community as a key component and is a cost effective, consistent approach able to be applied across the state. Since 2002, more than 40 FLOWS assessments have been completed. Over that time, learnings and new science have enabled the FLOWS method to be updated, and FLOWS Edition 2 is soon to be released.
• the recently released Victorian Estuary Environmental Flows Assessment Method (EEFAM). The FLOWS method was developed for rivers and streams and the underlying approach has also been applied to determine wetland watering regimes. However, it was recognised that environmental flow assessment for estuaries was a gap in the program. So another project was begun to review the application of FLOWS to estuaries, and to review worldwide estuary flows methods. The result was the development of EEFAM.
• the Victorian Environmental Flow Monitoring and Assessment Program ( VEFMAP), which is a monitoring program developed (and implemented) to specifically monitor the ecological responses to environmental flows. Outcomes from VEFMAP are being used to further enhance FLOWS assessments by providing the scientific evidence to underpin the relationships between flow and ecological response - a critical requirement of any flow assessment.
This presentation will outline Victoria’s water management framework, highlighting the contribution of science to the process.