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Catchment Management Authorities

Each of the 10 catchment and land protection regions has catchment management authorities (CMAs).

The Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 establishes CMAs.

Board members have experience and knowledge in:

  • land and water management
  • water resources and the water industry
  • environment or natural resource management
  • primary industry
  • strategic or business planning
  • financial management.

More than half of the board members must be primary producers. The exceptions to this rule are the Port Phillip and Westernport region.

Board members are responsible for:

  • the development, coordination and monitoring of regional catchment strategies
  • advising ministers on regional priorities and resource allocation
  • the condition of land and water resources
  • coordinating works to protect and enhance land and water resources
  • encouraging participation of land managers in integrated catchment management.

They have stewardship roles for:

  • Landcare
  • biodiversity
  • pest and salinity management.

CMAs have specific responsibilities for waterway management under the Water Act 1989. The exception is the Port Phillip and Westernport region where Melbourne Water has waterway management responsibilities.

References to water managers relate to the 9 CMAs and Melbourne Water. The waterway managers have the lead role in:

  • developing and delivering regional programs for waterway management
  • developing regional waterway strategies and associated action plans.

The responsibilities of waterway managers include:

  • developing, coordinating and implementing floodplain management plans
  • drainage management responsibilities
  • responding to natural disasters, incidents and emergencies.

CMAs are referral authorities for land use planning and building approvals. They also provide advice in relation to:

  • land management
  • waterways and flooding.

Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria

The Commissioner’s role is to:

  • report on the condition of Victoria’s natural environment
  • encourage decision-making that helps with ecologically sustainable development
  • improve knowledge and understanding of issues relating to ecologically sustainable development and the environment
  • encourage Victorian and local governments to adopt sound environmental practices and procedures.

The Commissioner:

  • prepares the State of the Environment Report for Victoria every 5 years
  • undertakes annual strategic audits of the environmental management systems of Victorian Government agencies and public authorities
  • works and consults with all sectors of the Victorian community.

Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA)

We manage Victoria’s natural and built environments to create and maintain liveable, inclusive and sustainable communities.

We assist the ministers of the environment and climate change portfolios to manage their responsibilities under legislation through:

  • policies and programs
  • investment and regulation
  • governance
  • administration of government agencies, including CMAs
  • service delivery in the regions.

In partnership with government agencies, we manage:

  • public land
  • forests
  • water resources
  • catchments and waterways
  • infrastructure.

We also:

  • respond to the impacts of climate change
  • undertake fire, flood and emergency management
  • provide biodiversity research
  • work closely with local communities and land managers.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA)

The EPA’s responsibilities include:

  • protecting air, water and land from pollution
  • controlling industrial noise
  • minimising waste through environmental protection policies.

Its functions include:

  • conducting environmental impact assessments
  • preparing statutory policies for environmental protection
  • publishing guidelines for managing environmental impacts
  • providing strategic advice to the ministers.

Local government

Victoria’s 79 local councils are significant contributors to catchment management through:

  • the regulation of land use and development
  • public land management
  • strategic planning, including environmental strategies and urban stormwater plans
  • supporting landholders and community groups in the form of incentives, rebates and grants
  • community capacity building and education opportunities.

Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)

The MAV is the peak body for local government in Victoria. Their work includes:

  • advocating for local government interests
  • building the capacity of Victorian councils
  • facilitating effective networks
  • initiating policy development and advice
  • supporting councillors
  • promoting the role of local government.

Parks Victoria

Parks Victoria is a statutory authority created by the Parks Victoria Act 2018. It manages:

  • the state’s network of national, state, regional and metropolitan parks
  • other conservation reserves
  • many significant cultural assets.

Parks Victoria provides services for the management of waterways and land for:

  • conservation
  • recreation
  • leisure
  • tourism or water transport.

Trust for Nature

The Victorian Conservation Trust Act 1972 established the Trust for Nature. It provides statewide private land conservation services to:

  • the community
  • government
  • landowners.

These services include:

  • land protection through conservation covenants
  • engagement
  • education
  • stewardship and environmental markets
  • conservation reserves
  • the Revolving Fund.

Victorian Catchment Management Council

Appointed under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, the Victorian Catchment Management Council is the state government’s key advisory body on:

  • catchment management
  • the condition of land and water resources.

Members reflect Victoria's major land and water uses, including rural, urban, private and public uses. They also have experience and knowledge of:

  • land protection
  • water resource management
  • primary industry
  • environment protection
  • conservation and local government.

The council advises the minister on:

  • catchment management priorities
  • condition of land and water resources
  • research and investigation priorities
  • promoting community awareness and understanding of relevant issues
  • reporting annually on the operation of the Act
  • reporting every 5 years on the condition and management of land and water resources through the Catchment Condition and Management Report.

The council also:

  • advises the minister on the declaration or revocation of pest species
  • establishes guidelines for development
  • reviews the Regional Catchment Strategies prepared by CMAs.

Under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, the council may provide comments on final recommendations of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Scientific Advisory Committee for listing species and action statements.

Victorian Marine and Coastal Council

The Victorian Marine and Coastal Council is the peak body for the strategic planning and management of the Victorian coast. Members have experience and knowledge of:

  • conservation
  • tourism
  • business
  • recreation
  • commerce
  • issues relating to Aboriginal peoples
  • community affairs
  • town planning
  • local government
  • coastal engineering.

The council’s responsibilities include:

  • preparing and coordinating the implementation of the Victorian Coastal Strategy
  • facilitating the operation of Regional Coastal Boards
  • monitoring the development and implementation of coastal action plans
  • publishing guidelines for the planning and management of the coast
  • encourage the cooperation of those involved in the coast's planning, management and use.

Victorian Environmental Water Holder

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) is an independent statutory authority appointed under the Water Act 1989 to manage environmental water entitlements.

It works with:

  • the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
  • CMAs
  • water corporations.

These bodies ensure using water entitlements produces efficient and effective environmental outcomes.


VicWater (Victorian Water Industry Association) is the peak industry association for water corporations in Victoria.

VicWater plays an important role in the water industry by:

  • influencing government policy
  • providing forums for industry discussions on priority issues
  • spreading news and information on current issues to stakeholders
  • identifying training needs
  • producing performance reports and industry guides.

Water corporations

Eighteen water corporations comprise Victoria’s state-owned water sector constituted under the Water Act 1989. They provide a range of services to customers comprising:

  • urban and rural water supply
  • sewerage and trade waste disposal and treatment
  • recycled water and drainage services.

Four water corporations provide rural water services, which include:

  • water delivery for irrigation and domestic and stock purposes
  • drainage
  • salinity mitigation services.

As storage and resource managers, they are responsible for delivering water to entitlement holders. They work with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and CMAs to deliver environmental water according to any regional watering proposals.

Find out how we work with water corporations.

Page last updated: 24/10/23