Our water licence gives us stewardship of six Tasmanian water catchments, making us the largest freshwater manager in Australia. Environmental protection and research is a core part of our business.

Helping fish migrate

For many years, we’ve been working to find the best solutions to help Tasmania’s eels and lampreys navigate our dams. Their unique life cycles require them to migrate annually between marine and fresh waters. We work with the Inland Fisheries Service to assist migration at Trevallyn Dam on the South Esk River and at Meadowbank Dam on the Derwent River. At Trevallyn, a ladder enables elvers to ‘climb’ the dam wall and continue their migration into the South Esk, Macquarie and Meander Rivers. At Meadowbank, a short ladder leads to a large fish trap which collects elvers and lampreys, which are then relocated upstream.

Monitoring the Gordon River

We have been monitoring the Gordon River since the late 1990s. First we established baseline conditions. Since 2006 we’ve been maintaining enough continuous flow in the river to provide suitable conditions for fish and macroinvertebrates. We also limit the rate of changes in water flow to protect the riverbanks from erosion. We’ve been monitoring the effectiveness of these measures and the impacts of changes in hydropower operation following our connection via Basslink to the NEM.

Reviewing our water management

We are passionate about ensuring that Tasmania’s precious water resource remains healthy and available for future generations. That’s why we are systematically reviewing the state of our six major water catchments. Assessments are carried out in consultation with stakeholders and consider social, environmental and economic conditions and management practices. We commit to actions that achieve the greatest environmental and social benefits.

Managing low lake levels

We work to minimise environmental and social impacts when water levels drop in dry periods, for example harm to sensitive habitat or access to boat ramps. These considerations inform our decision-making when we need to generate hydropower at lower water levels, as they did in the dry conditions of 2015/16, when we reprioritised our water use to maintain important habitat in yingina / Great Lake.

Environmental case studies

Lagoon of Islands

We are achieving promising results as we work to rehabilitate the Lagoon of Islands wetland in Tasmania’s central highlands. The unique ecosystem was flooded in 1964 to support irrigation, but is now being rehabilitated. We are seeing significant improvements in vegetation and the quality of water for downstream users, and we’re confident the lagoon is on the path to long-term recovery. 

Woods Lake

Woods Lake is once again ranked amongst Tasmania’s most popular angling lakes, thanks in part to our water management regime informed by scientific studies. Keeping water levels in the lake higher than past levels has helped reduce the lake’s turbidity (level of suspended particles). Lower turbidity means the water is clearer, but it also allows improvements in fish habitat and the return of threatened fish species.  

Cataract Gorge

Finding the right level of water flow through Launceston’s Cataract Gorge is a balancing act. We’ve been working to understand the complex social, economic and ecological issues and the different views of our many stakeholders. We increased the water flow through the Gorge to 2.5 cumecs in 2011, and believe this is an appropriate balance between social, economic and environmental considerations. 

© Hydro-Electric Corporation 2017