Infrastructure Victoria 2021 – 2051 Strategy and the Victorian water sector

VicWater is pleased to see the Infrastructure Victoria 2021 – 2051 Strategy has a focus on climate change and its impacts. Specifically, the report acknowledges the impact on water storage and infrastructure, and how that in turn, directly impacts the Victorian water sector.

The report states, “A warmer, drier climate means less rainfall flowing into Victoria’s rivers and dams, putting more pressure on urban water supplies. Water infrastructure will also be affected by more frequent extreme rainfall events, movement and changes in groundwater, and higher average temperatures with lower average rainfall.”

The strategy notes that rainfall is projected to decrease, putting pressure on urban water supply and predicts that water shortages could appear in Melbourne as soon as 2043, but a worst-case scenario, by 2028. There is potential that regional areas would experience shortages even sooner, and cites areas serviced by Coliban Water may see shortages as early as 2025, and 2031 in areas serviced by Greater Western Water.

VicWater is keen to explore all recommendations and what they may mean for the Victorian water sector. We acknowledge that the Victorian water sector is complex and nuanced, with each region having its own specific requirements.

Infrastructure Victoria makes specific recommendations for Government to respond to climate change, including water-specific recommendations. Recommendations include:

  • Considering all water supply sources by investigating all water source options including recycled water, seawater desalination, stormwater harvesting and better use of the water grid
  • Moving toward an integrated model of water cycle management within five years and clarifying policy settings to allow the better use of stormwater and recycled water
  • Improving decision-making for urban water investment by clearly allocating the roles and responsibilities for urban water systems and major supply augmentation planning
  • Increasing funding to strengthen agricultural water security by modernising irrigation and water infrastructure
  • Assessing the condition, capacity and security of Victoria’s emergency water supply point network, and upgrading and replacing supply points where necessary.

We believe that working towards an effective and sustainable water industry means that we keep all options open, apprising customers of these options and seeking the best combinations that will secure long-term supply. VicWater continues engage in these important conversations that work towards ensuring that we, as a sector, enhance water security and industry resilience, while seeking the most appropriate solution for each region.