After exceeding their initial target of 200 million litres of water for the Hattah Lakes wetlands, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is now aiming to purchase an additional 200 million litres of water to add to the Hattah Lakes in northern Victoria near Mildura.
The Hattah Lakes are part of the 16 internationally important wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin, renowned for its unique and diverse wildlife which is now under threat due to over-extraction of water for irrigation.
The ACF target of 200 million litres may sound like a lot of water, however this represents just 0.01 per cent of the water taken by Victorian irrigators for the Murray and Goulburn River System in 2007-08.
Thanks to extensive media coverage across newspapers, TV and radio, the ACF’s Just Add Water campaign raised enough money in two weeks to purchase 200 million litres of water for the Hattah Lakes and now plans to raise enough money to purchase another 200 million litres in April.
ACF is again giving people the opportunity to directly participate in reviving Hattah Lakes by donating just $15 to the Just Add Water initiative. Your donation of $15 is expected to buy around 75,000 litres, based on recent average water prices and including transaction costs.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Mallee Catchment Management Authority will pump the purchased water from the Murray River into Chalka Creek which supplies Hattah’s lakes.
When ACF’s water is added to water being provided by federal and state governments, it will help revive river red gums and provide a sanctuary for wildlife. Hattah is one of the Murray-Darling Basins critical drought refuges. Water is being provided to save extremely stressed river red gum, which can live up to 1000 years. Hattah also provides vital refuge for waterbirds and other wetland dependent species like frogs and turtles.
The wetlands in Hattah-Kulkyne Lakes National Park are Ramsar listed sites, making them internationally significant. They are home to 245 fauna species including 47 threatened or near threatened species. Five critically endangered species – the intermediate egret, Australian painted snipe, plains wanderer, Murray hardyhead and silver perch – are found here.
Hattah also provides habitat for nationally vulnerable species including the greater long-eared bat, Mallee-emu wren and regent parrot. Hattah is also home to 465 native plants, including 92 rare or threatened species such as winged pepper grass, spreading scuff-pea and swainson-pea.
For more information or to donate to the Just Add Water campaign visit the Australian Conservation Foundation website.
Source: Australian Conservation Foundation
Photo credit: abc.net.au