By the end of the 1980s the increasing demand for urban water resulted in at least 22 dam sites being investigated throughout the Otway Ranges. Six sites were found to be viable propositions. Five are in the Gellibrand River Catchment and the one at Dewings Creek is in the Barwon River Catchment. Around this same period public sentiment drove the Government to move away from dam construction to groundwater extraction. Unfortunately for the Otway Ranges recommended extractions rates were disregarded and after 37 years of groundwater mining surface impacts became so devastating that they could no longer be ignored.
The Otway Water books are free to download, and make an attempt at documenting the story so far (September 2019).

Book 8 (2008), A quick flip through “One Giant Environmental Footprint,” would be a good place to start.

Book 14 even though it was written in March 2011 deals with many of the impacts in the Big Swamp wetlands. These impacts, to varying degrees, are now spreading over a 480 Km² area.

Book 19, pages 127-130, gives a fairly concise summary of the majority of the issues up to 2017.

Other books deal with
, Gas Extraction,
Government Obfuscation
, Fish Kills, Agricultural Disruption,
Wetland Destruction
and among other things poor Scientific and Technical Research Methodology on which bad resource management decisions are being made.

Otway Ranges Subterranean National Park.
Since 2019 the Victorian State Government through Minister Lisa Neville, has recognised the number of serious issues and declared that the Gellibrand Groundwater Management Area extractions be set at ZERO. The Gerangamete Groundwater Management Area has been set at 238 ML/year allowing present outstanding farmers’ licences to continue. These licences will expire in 2025 and 2030. In effect a zero limit for the Gerangamete GMA has been recognised.

Unfortunately, this protection of the groundwaters can be overturned quite easily as has been done in the past.
Otway Water Book 55
presents a very convincing case that the two Groundwater Management Areas of Gellibrand and Gerangamete should be afforded additional protection by turning them into a first in the world of its kind, a Subterranean National Park. You can help by visiting…

Malcolm and Kay