Commonwealth Environmental Water Office banner

Goulburn-Broken catchment

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2013-14

Watering action Status of Commonwealth action
Upper Broken Creek Yet to commence
Lower Broken Creek In progress
Goulburn River In progress

A summary of Commonwealth environmental watering from previous years in the Goulburn-Broken is included below. For further information about Commonwealth environmental watering in the Goulburn-Broken catchment and the outcomes achieved, please refer to the Commonwealth environmental water Outcomes Reports and Annual Reports.

Planning for 2014-15

Commonwealth environmental water use options 2014-15: Victorian River identifies potential Commonwealth environmental watering actions for 2014-15. Decisions on using Commonwealth environmental water will be made throughout the year based on seasonal, operational and management considerations. If you wish to provide suggestions for Commonwealth environmental water use please contact us at or send us your suggestion by visiting: Your suggestions for potential water use options.

Monitoring of environmental watering in the catchment in 2012-13

Monitoring projects underway

  • Monitoring and reporting on the ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental water delivered to the Goulburn River and Broken Creek between July 2012 and June 2013.

Water availability and portfolio management

The Goulburn-Broken catchment is part of the northern Victorian rivers system which includes the Goulburn, Broken, Campaspe, Loddon and Ovens rivers and Broken Creek.

For more information regarding the characteristics of entitlements and the water resource plan held in the Goulburn-Broken catchment please refer to Victoria's Department of Environment and Primary Industries

Water trading

Information on future trade considerations is available at: Portfolio Management Update

Information on current trading actions is available at: Current Trading Actions

Information on previous trading actions is available at: Trading Outcomes

Environmental watering in the catchment in previous years

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2012-13
Watering action Amount of water delivered (ML) Status of action
Goulburn River 201 097 Completed
Lower Broken Creek 41 230 Completed
Upper Broken Creek 51 200 Completed
Total in 2012-13 293 527  
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2011-12
Watering action Amount of water delivered (ML) Status of action
Lower Broken Creek 10 366 Completed
Goulburn River 96 900 Completed
Goulburn River 37 039 Completed
Broken River 51 Completed
Total in 2011-12 144 356  
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2010-11
Watering action Amount of water delivered (ML) Status of action
Broken River 24 Completed
Goulburn-Broken River 52 440 Completed
Total in 2010-11 52 464  

Catchment profile

Where is it?

The Goulburn-Broken catchment is situated in north-central Victoria and centres on the Goulburn and Broken Rivers. The total area of the catchment is 21,831 km2.

The Goulburn River originates on the northern slopes of the Great Dividing Range near Alexandra and Yea. It flows in a generally westerly direction before turning northwards near Seymour and continuing to the Murray River. The Goulburn River is intensively regulated and supports extensive irrigation areas.

The Broken River passes through riverine plains before joining the Goulburn River near Shepparton. The Broken River is one of the main tributaries of the Goulburn River. Other tributaries include the Rubicon, Delatite, Howqua and Jamieson Rivers.

Southern Catchments page


Ramsar site

DIWA site

Goulburn-Broken Catchment

What makes this place so special?

Originally, the Goulburn-Broken catchment was covered with grasslands, woodland and forests. Today, only isolated remnants remain within a large, intensively cleared irrigation and grazing region. These remaining pockets of vegetation, which include river red gum forest and woodland communities, provide important breeding areas for waterbirds, including many colonial nesting species.

Gunbower Forest

Gunbower Forest is the second largest Red Gum Forest in Victoria. Photo: J Baker

The Goulburn River influences the Gunbower Forest Ramsar Site and the Koondrook unit of the NSW Central Murray State Forests Ramsar Site (Gunbower-Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Living Murray Icon site) during periods of high flow. These sites are located on the floodplain of the Murray River.

An important asset within the catchment is the Lower Goulburn Floodplain and its associated wetlands. These are listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA) as being nationally significant.

Each of these wetlands provide a diversity of habitats for species including the great egret, fork-tailed swift and Australian Painted Snipe which are each listed under the CAMBA international migratory bird agreement.

A number of threatened species, including the superb parrot, growling grass frog (also known as the southern bell frog) and Murray cod, as well as other ecological communities in the catchment are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

What does the latest science say about the ecological health of the catchment?

The Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA), coordinated by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, provides scientifically robust assessments of the ecological health of the Basin's river valleys. The overall ecosystem health of the Goulburn River and the Broken River catchment as reported by the SRA is summarised below.

SRA Report Overall ecosystem health of catchment
SRA 1 (based on data collected from 2004 to 2007) Very poor
SRA 2 (based on data collected from 2008 to 2010) Very poor

The CSIRO Sustainable Yields Report on the Goulburn-Broken Region indicated that the current level of surface water extraction is extremely high, with 50 per cent of available surface water being diverted for use or transferred for use in other water regions. Under the best estimate 2030 climate conditions, the average surface water availability would be reduced by 14 per cent and diversions would decrease by 5 per cent. There would be substantial reductions in the occurrence and volumes of flooding of the lower Goulburn River floodplain, and the occurrence of undesirably low flows would increase slightly.

Note that the boundaries of this catchment as defined by the Sustainable Rivers Audit and the Sustainable Yields report differ slightly to the boundaries used here.

Environmental water delivery references

Environmental water delivery: Lower Goulburn River and Environmental water delivery: Lower Broken Creek collate current knowledge of the operational and administrative arrangements for the delivery of environmental water in the Lower Goulburn River and Lower Broken Creek, and provide an overview of the environmental assets and potential environmental water use options for the catchments. This work has been undertaken to support the efficient and effective use of environmental water and to engage communities on how this may best be achieved. This aims to encourage community discussion and feedback on the use of environmental water, to identify future opportunities and recognise operational risks and constraints. Comments on the documents are encouraged and can be provided to: