2011 – Mokoan – Return to Wetland Project

David R Jeffery

In 2004 the Victorian Government announced the decision to proceed with Australia’s largest dam decommissioning project, the return of the 365,000ML capacity Lake Mokoan to a wetland.

The project has been completed and has resulted in significant river health benefits through liberating environmental flows in the Broken, Goulburn, Murray and Snowy Rivers. Decommissioning has allowed the recovery of water savings for return as environmental flow to the River Murray (30,000 ML/year) and Snowy River (21,000 ML/year).

With decommissioning complete, development of a significant wetland complex across the 8100 hectare site has commenced.

This project has been undertaken at a time when the Broken River basin was exposed to its worst drought conditions in over 100 years and within 11 years of the worst flooding experienced in the nearby Rural City of Benalla. These extremes of climatic conditions and their impacts on the local and irrigation communities have ensured considerable community and stakeholder interest in the decision to proceed with decommissioning and in the subsequent delivery of each of the project elements.

This paper provides an explanation of the drivers for the project, describes the process followed and some of the challenges experienced over the projects seven year life and presents some of the lessons learned along the way.


Buy this resource