A recent study of the economic effects of events focused on the Wimmera River showed that the Peter Taylor Barefoot Water Ski Tournament generated over $185,000 for the local economy earlier this year.

Wimmera Development Association, in conjunction with Wimmera Catchment Management Authority support and in collaboration with community organisations, recently completed a report on the economic impact of annual Wimmera community river-based events and has confirmed far-reaching values in maintaining healthy waterways in the region.

Consultant Street Ryan estimates in the report that Horsham and Jeparit fishing contests and the barefoot water-ski tournament at Dimboola earlier this year collectively generated $832,783 in economic activity.

The analysis of the economic contribution of the three Wimmera River events in 2022 is part of an ongoing broader assessment of how weirs, lakes and rivers contribute to the economic and social integrity of the regional economy. The study has been underway for the past six years.

The Economic Value: Selected Wimmera River Events 2022 study showed, based on the supply and demand of goods and services, the three-day Peter Taylor Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump attracted 2,200 attendees and generated $185,051 and the Jeparit Easter Fishing Contest involved 648 attendees who generated $105,616.

The Horsham Fishing Contest had 1,031 competitors as part of an estimated 1,753 attendees and generated $542,000 for the region.

Wimmera Development Association program manager Mark Fletcher said ‘’these reports continue to show the considerable contribution that the recreational and environmental water sites make to the region. It cannot be underestimated, the significant impact of these sites and events make on the region’s economy and the flow on mental health and wellbeing of our communities post covid.”

Wimmera CMA chief executive David Brennan said the study showed the value of an integrated approach to managing ‘critically’ important environmental assets.

“We work to maintain healthy rivers and streams, often through the complexities associated with limited access to precious water during a series of dry years.

“What’s important is that this is as much about looking after people, communities and livability as it is about protecting and improving aquatic and riverine ecosystems.

“Environmental health works hand in glove with socio-economic vibrancy. There is no better example of this than in the Wimmera.

“The Wimmera River system is a vast arterial network from its source in the Pyrenees to the terminal lakes of the southern Mallee and represents the lifeblood of many communities. Hopefully, we can get some significant rain in the catchment this year, and everyone can benefit. If not, we will be relying on the limited amount of water for the environment to maintain the waterway values we enjoy.”

This study gives a better understanding of measuring these values and using that information to plan for future tourism, recreational and infrastructure facilities. Study outputs will also help to demonstrate the local and regional impacts to both State and Commonwealth Governments to attract support and funding for further development of infrastructure and services associated with recreational water.

The 2022-23 study will commence in November, with the majority of the funding for the project coming from the Victorian Government’s Water for Victoria program via the Wimmera CMA.

The full reports for this project can be found on the Wimmera Development Association’s website.

The Peter Taylor Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump