Water for Victoria (2016) sets out strategic directions and proposed actions to meet the state’s water security challenges, principally climate change and population growth. The government invested $537 million to deliver Water for Victoria over a four-year period.
Major areas of investment aligned to the strategic aims of Water for Victoria have included $222 million to improve waterway and catchment health in regional Victoria, $60 million to strengthen water entitlement and planning processes, $151 million for water and irrigation infrastructure (including $42 million in the 2018–19 Victorian budget towards water security infrastructure in the East Grampians and Mitiamo), and $20 million to respond to the challenges of climate change.
Water for Victoria recognises the value water has for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians. Funding of $9.7 million has been provided to support economic development and an Aboriginal Water Program. The objectives of the Aboriginal Water Program are to:
recognise Aboriginal values and objectives of water
include Aboriginal values and traditional ecological knowledge in water planning
support Aboriginal access to water for economic development
build capacity to increase Aboriginal participation in water management.
In 2018, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) established the Water Grid Partnership. The partnership will oversee the operation of Victoria’s water grid and create a forum for delivering the best possible solutions to Victoria’s water security challenges. The partnership builds on recent grid investments, including the $80.6 million South West Loddon Pipeline, the $85.2 million East Grampians Pipeline and the $43 million Lance Creek Water Connection.
In 2017, DELWP published the Integrated Water Management Framework for Victoria. The framework aims to help government, the water sector and the community work together to improve planning, management and delivery of water in Victoria’s towns and cities.
Melbourne Water published the Melbourne Water System Strategy in 2017, which presented a system view of water resource management across Melbourne and the surrounding region over the next 50 years.
Victoria contributed to the development of the Basin Plan, published by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority in 2012. The Basin Plan is a coordinated approach to water management across the Murray–Darling Basin’s four states (South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland) and the Australian Capital Territory, and is designed to ensure that water taken from the Murray–Darling Basin for consumptive use is sustainable.
The water sector, responsible for the largest proportion of government CO2-e emissions, is participating in the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan. Victoria’s 19 water corporations have pledged to reduce their collective emissions by approximately 350,000 tonnes – or 42% – by 2025.
DELWP used the Victorian Climate Initiative outputs to develop Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Water Supplies in Victoria. This document was produced to help Victoria’s water sector plan for the impacts of climate change on water supplies.
DELWP also oversees the Victorian Water and Climate Initiative that supports research into the impact of climate change and climate variability on Victoria’s water resources. This includes three research projects undertaken with the University of Melbourne, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and CSIRO.