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We are committed to focusing on urban water efficiency ensuring that water efficiency measures are developed and supported by water corporations and their communities.

This initiative complements this focus and builds on actions taken by the government, water corporations and by individuals over the past 4 years to ensure that Victoria has secure water supplies and to defer any new and more expensive water supply options as long as possible.

Urban water efficiency programs

It delivers on the commitment in Water for Victoria Action 5.3 to reinvigorate investment into urban water efficiency programs across Victoria, introducing the revised Target 150 in Melbourne and Target Your Water Use (TYWU) initiatives for regional Victorians.

Digital monitoring platform

It also supports the commitment to expand the government’s work on providing a digital monitoring platform to new sectors and more schools. Ensuring Victoria is using existing water as efficiently as possible is a critical backdrop and foundational element of how we meet long-term security of supply.

The Making Victorians Waterwise (Water Efficiency) Program will deliver the following programs through water corporations:

  • Schools Water Efficiency Program - SWEP
  • Community Housing Retrofit Program - CHRP
  • Community Rebate Program - CRP

Environmental contribution 5 (EC5)

Program title 2020–21 expenditure ($'000) 2021–22
expenditure ($'000)
2022–23 expenditure ($'000)

Making Victorians water wise: Investing in communities for a secure water future


Summary of progress to date

Target 150 and Target Your Water Use (TYWU)

Victoria’s urban water corporations are delivering behaviour change programs encouraging Victorians to use water wisely. In Melbourne, the Target 150 program encourages the per person use of water to be no more than 150 litres per day, while, in regional Victoria, the TYWU program encourages water wise behaviours tailored to local contexts.

The Melbourne water corporations are continuing to deliver the Make Every Drop Count behaviour change program in Melbourne, which supports Melbourne residents to achieve Target 150.

Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) and VicFacilities

Victorian schools in the SWEP are tracking their water use online and detecting leaks. The program also helps educate students on efficient water use. A review of the SWEP found that over a quarter of the water used by schools (28%) is due to leaks and unnecessary usage.

By June 2022, over 1,385 Victorian schools (over 50% of all Victorian schools) had signed up to SWEP. The program has saved over 10 GL, which would have cost schools over $33 million in water and wastewater charges.

Between October 2016 and June 2022, VicFacilities, a modified version of SWEP aimed at government properties, monitored:

  • 31 Victorian Government sites
  • 12 water corporation sites
  • 13 council sites.
  • VicFacilities has helped these sites to save over 127 million litres of water and reduce water and wastewater bills by $365,898.
  • VicFacilities, which started as a trial with the department's sites, has been extended to monitor water use across a range of government sites. Within days of joining the program, Greater Shepparton Council identified leaks on 5 of its 10 sites.

Community Rebate and Housing Retrofit Programs

Victorian urban water corporations deliver the Victorian Community Rebate (CRP) and Community Housing Retrofit Programs (CHRP).

The Victorian Community Rebate offers rebates to customers in vulnerable and hardship situations to help reduce their water consumption and water bills. This is done by improving the water efficiency of appliances and fixing leaks around the property. The program is run by all Victorian water corporations, which send a qualified plumber to undertake a water audit and retrofit.

The Community Housing Retrofit Program (CHRP) assists not-for-profit emergency and community housing organisations to complete substantial water efficiency upgrades. It is currently operating across 4 water corporation regions: Central Highlands Water, Lower Murray Water, Yarra Valley Water, and Barwon Water. The program was extended to include the Barwon Water region in the latter part of 2020-21. This has made the program available to community housing organisations in the southwest of Victoria.

Between 2020–21 to 2022–23, the CRP and CHRP undertook water audits, fixed leaks, and upgraded water using appliances for 5,770 households and emergency community housing properties. The accumulated water savings of these upgrades has resulted in 165 megalitres of water saved per year and equates to $0.63 million in total bill savings from reduced water and wastewater charges or $110 average saving per customer assisted per year.

The 2023 independent review of CRP and CHRP found that 80% of customers assisted (and who responded to the evaluation survey) would have not upgraded or would have delayed their upgrade by up to 5 years without help from the rebate programs, and 52% of respondents stated they had changed their behaviour to save water after participating in the programs.

Page last updated: 15/11/23