Logging and the Thomson Water Catchment

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Thomson Reservoir is situated along the eastern escarpments of Mount Baw Baw and carries approximately 60 percent of Melbourne’s water storage capacity. It is surrounded by 48,700 hectares of forested catchment that includes the northern and eastern slopes of Mount Baw Baw, the southern slopes of Mount Matlock on the Great Dividing Range and the western slopes of the Aberfeldy Range. The Thomson is the largest of four major water supply catchments for Melbourneand is located within the Central Highlands of Victoria. The Thomson is a major water supply catchment upon which logging is permitted. The forest industry considers the Mountain Ash, Alpine Ash and Shining Gum forests within the catchment as highly valuable for timber and pulp and targets these for logging. These forests cover 33.5 percent of the Thomson Catchment and occur within the high rainfall areas, mostly along the escarpments of Mount Baw Baw. When regenerating after logging, these species have been observed to double their use of water. The Strategy Directions Report stated that if logging were to be phased out of the Thomson Catchment by 2020, it is estimated that it will provide an additional volume of water in the order of 20,000ML. This PDF provides an overview of the issues concerning logging in the Thomson Catchment and implications for future management.

Logging within the ‘Ash Forests’ of the Thomson Catchment with the Thomson Reservoir in the Background