We are so fortunate to have a river running through our community – but it needs reviving. At the moment it’s a disgrace – caused by neglect and bad management from various government bodies (there are so many of them that it’s no wonder it’s fallen through the cracks – who is responsible? City of Greater Geelong, Melbourne Water, Barwon Water, Corangomite catchment authority, PPWCMA)?
When we were kids, the Little River was a place of recreation for fishing, exploring, adventure and swimming. It was a source of livelihood for our parents, providing water for livestock, around the house, vege and lucerne irrigation.
Many happy hours were spent in our younger days fishing for eels and “tiddlers” – and once
The river was also a place for the community. When the weir was first built in 1950, it also had a swimming pool, which was a gathering place for the locals and the site of the Little River Swimming Club. There were also events on the weir – fishing competitions and raft races. Today – all gone.
Over the years – the 60s, 70s and 80s – the water gradually became too salty. It could only be used if there had been a flush in the river – either from a release of water from the Weir or a decent rainfall, which could result in a minor flood in the river which was enough to flush out the brackish water.
Back in the 60’s, there were maybe a dozen market gardens irrigating from the River. Within 20 years, there were probably none – due to the lack of quality and quantity of water in the River.
The question is why? Is it due to climate change or that the Little River just lacked enough water?
Back in the late 1800’s there was enough water flowing into the Little River from its southern arm – the Stony Creek – to justify building the Upper and Lower Stony Creek Reservoir
Its time this was turned around – for the good of the environment, the wildlife, and the local community. Not too far away the action group “The People for a Living Moorabool”, are showing what can be achieved at grass roots level when the community starts taking action to stop the degradation of the environment.
We can put it in the too hard basket action can make a difference and turn things around.
s. From the late 1800’s this water was used to supply Geelong with a reliable water supply.
Over the past 150 years, The Little River has been let die for the sake of Geelong.
We can make a difference. What is our vision?
- It has to be firstly a Little River with a restored natural water flow.
- Then additional weirs along the river. (The natural rainfall in this area is the lowest in all southern Victoria).
- A corridor for wildlife stretching from the Brisbane Ranges and the You Yangs to the bay.
- Walking/bike paths along the banks for community to exercise, explore and enjoy this revived ecosystem.
- Revegetated with native trees, shrubs and grasses, and exotic invasive flora like tiger pear, boxthorn, serrated tussock and Chilean needle grass removed
- Recreational fishing, kyaking and swimming.
30 years ago my uncle, Jack Rees had a vision of using recycled water pumped to Balliang, then allowed to flow back down the Little River, providing lifeblood to the river, and water for agribusinesses along its course. At the time I thought he was a bit crazy, but now I do think he was a visionary.