NCRIS Groundwater Infrastructure

The upper Ovens Valley

Where is the upper Ovens Valley?

The Ovens Valley encompasses the Ovens River, which flows into the River Murray in eastern Victoria. The upper Ovens Valley is a narrow region starting in the Australian Alps and stretching to about Myrtleford.

The upper Ovens catchment contains native forest on the hills in the south and cleared land in the valleys and riverine plain. The dominant land use on cleared lands is dry land grazing with minor dry land crops, irrigated crops, plantation forest, and urban settlements. Water resources in the upper Ovens Valley are comparatively minimally developed; however, groundwater from the alluvials, deeper sediments, and fractured basement together with surface water are becoming increasingly important for domestic and agricultural use.

The upper Ovens Valley is typical of the alpine valleys of south-east Australia. Unlike many other regions of Australia, the upper Ovens Valley and surrounding regions are temperate with high rainfall totals and snowmelt from the surrounding mountains. 

Why is this location important?

The Ovens valley and neighbouring catchments are part of the regional recharge area of the Murray–Darling Basin, and documenting changes to the water cycle in the upper Ovens resulting from climate change will help us to understand the potential impacts on the Murray Basin water resources.

The upper Ovens Valley provides a contrast to other sites such as Ti Tree, which is arid; Namoi, where water resources are more heavily developed; and North Stradbroke Island, which is a tropical coastal site, and will therefore permit a wider range of landscape types.