Flows in the Painkalac Creek and estuary are modified by the Painkalac Reservoir, which supplied drinking water to the towns of Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven until 2016 when the reservoir was taken offline.
Since then, the Corangamite CMA has worked with Barwon Water to coordinate releases from the reservoir for environmental benefits in the creek. Releases occur throughout the year to mimic natural flows as much as possible. The releases prevent downstream reaches in the creek from drying out, help maintain water quality and habitat for fish, frogs and birds, and provide water for other ecological and recreational values. The Corangamite CMA works with Surf Coast Shire Council to ensure low lying infrastructure is not impacted when environmental water is released.
The Corangamite CMA and Barwon Water are currently coordinating a release of water that will create a brief higher flow in the current low flow season to stimulate fish breeding and migration and to freshen up the creek and estuary. The release will commence today and continue for 9 days, with a peak of 7 megalitres a day for one day. A small increase of up to 5 cm in the water level of the estuary may be observed.