For the first time, the Victorian Government have partnered with Traditional Owners when formulating the draft plan for the Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy. The plan aims to secure Victoria’s water future, meet the challenges of a warmer and drier climate, and meet the demands of population growth.
The plan includes a proposal to increase Traditional Owner access to water entitlements, with a focus on preserving and boosting water supplies. Importantly, the Strategy outlines options that mean no water will be taken from existing entitlement holders.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville says of the plan:
“This is the first time we have partnered with Traditional Owners in developing a Sustainable Water Strategy, continuing our commitment to increase cultural access to water.”
The plan seeks to explore other strategies that speak to Victoria’s increasingly drier climate. It includes considerations such as:
- Increasing the use of recycled water for non-drinking purposes
- Saving more water across households, industry, agriculture, sporting fields, parks and gardens
- Strengthening the water grid through increasing capacity of the Melbourne Geelong interconnector
- A regional-scale stormwater harvesting system at Sunbury
- Using more recycled water for irrigation in the region west of Melbourne to free up water for rivers and drinking supplies
- Changing the maximum water-use target of 155 litres per person per day to 150 litres per person per day
The plan is in its draft phase so the Government are exploring many options. The Minister says, “We need to meet the challenges of climate change and increased demand for water – our rivers need extra flows, we need to continue supporting agriculture, industry and jobs and ensure we have water for communities and recreational use.”
The Government is seeking public feedback on the Strategy to inform the final version of the plan, which will be released next year.
If you’d like to provide feedback on the plan you can visit the Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy website.