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The River Moorabool | Ballarat

June 26 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

This film explains why this unique river, travelling from the Wombat Forests near Ballarat to the Barwon River at Geelong, is in trouble.

“The River Moorabool” promotes alternative urban water supplies that would increase its flow and resilience in a changing climate.

About 90% of the Moorabool’s natural flow is taken for human use. Dams in the upper catchment trap water for Geelong and Ballarat. More is trapped in farm dams, so never makes the river.

A lower stretch of the river near Geelong is concreted, but this is badly broken, so water soaks into the cement quarry for which the river’s course was twice shifted back in the 1900s.

Further downstream, the river was turned into a concrete channel. The Moorabool’s flow often does not make it to the Barwon River.

In 2007-8, the river stopped flowing because water behind the Bungal Dam was diverted to Ballarat rather than being allowed down the river.

The environmental flow is a small fraction of that extracted for human use.

The Moorabool’s health is suffering because of:

  • The increasing water use by Ballarat and Geelong
  • Intensive farming activities
  • The spread of weeds along the river and its tributaries

The film discusses new sources of water for cities – such as recycling, storm water reuse, desalination – and rationalization of farm dams.

“The river needs a more resilient and environmentally secure future with greater flows and improved catchment management, including more riparian revegetation.”

The film presents interviews with a Wadawurrung man, farmers, scientists, landcare proponents, and river campaigners that explain the river’s history, characteristics, problems and possible solutions. The diversity of scenery along the river is a strong feature of the film.

The film was made by “People for A Living Moorabool” and “Sheoaks Films”.

People for A Living Moorabool (PALM) formed during April 2008 in response to the dire condition of the Moorabool River.

The PALM Charter reads:

“Our group unites those who want to keep the full length of the Moorabool River alive. This one idea of a ‘living Moorabool’ is our guiding principle. It means that our commitment to be a voice for the river will override any support for the rights of particular water users. We have a single focus – the right of this magnificent, but highly stressed river, to an effective environmental flow. We are motivated by the politics of unity not division.”

PALM and the Geelong Landcare Network support each other in advocating for the Moorabool River and catchment management.

This event is being supported by the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute.


June 26
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute
117-119 Sturt Street
Ballarat Central, VIC 3350 Australia
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