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Government, through Water for Victoria (2016), committed to focus on urban water efficiency to ensure that water efficiency measures are developed and supported by water corporations and their communities.

Making Victorians Water Wise 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, reactivating Target 155 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)

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


Summary of progress to date

Target 155 and Target Your Water Use

Victoria’s 15 urban water corporations are delivering behaviour change programs encouraging Victorians to use water wisely. In Melbourne, the Target 155 program encourages the per person use of water to be no more than 155 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 155.

Schools Water Efficiency Program 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 1,315 Victorian schools (over 50% of all Victorian schools) had signed up to SWEP.  The program saves a total of 9.9 GL or 1.0 GL average per year, which would have cost schools over $31.9 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.

At the end of June 2022, the CRP and CHRP had assisted a cumulative total of 16,325 vulnerable and hardship customers across Victoria and saved 0.45GL over the 2021-22 year. This equates to approximately $1.62 million saved in water and wastewater bills annually, or an average water bill saving of about $80 per residential customer and about $360 per property for a community housing organisation.

Both programs are on track to meet the government’s delivery targets.

Page last updated: 08/09/23