By acting now and investing smartly, the water sector is well-placed to reduce its emissions efficiently and achieve these ambitious targets.

Under Victoria’s water plan, Water for Victoria, the water sector committed to be a leader in climate change mitigation in Victoria. This involves achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Beyond this, Victoria’s four Melbourne metropolitan water corporations committed to try to achieve net-zero by 2030. This is 20 years ahead of schedule.

To put the sector on the right path to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, each of Victoria’s 19 water corporations has committed to ambitious 2025 emissions reduction targets. These targets are formalised in the Statement of Obligation (Emissions Reduction) (PDF, 1.9 MB) or Word version (DOCX, 51.4 KB). The Statement also sets out the water sector’s emissions reduction priorities, affordability priorities, and rules for calculating emissions. Collectively, the water corporations’ targets represent a 42% reduction in emissions from a 2011-2016 average baseline.

Victorian water corporations emissions reduction targets table:

Each Victorian water corporation has its own 2025 emissions reduction target. These targets are outlined below in both tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and as a percentage reduction from baseline.

Victorian Water CorporationBaseline1 yearly emissions
(t CO2-e2)
2025 yearly emissions target
(t CO2-e)
Emissions reduction from baseline (t CO2-e)Emissions reduction from baseline (%)
Melbourne Water 408,860 204,380 204,480 50.0
City West Water3 12,401 2,471 9,930 80.1
South East Water 41,372 23,016 18,356 44.4
Yarra Valley Water 32,004 11,664 20,340 63.6

4 Metropolitan water corporations total ^

Barwon Water 42,986 15,926 27,060 63.0
Central Highlands Water 18,336 14,738 3,598 19.6
Coliban Water 33,604 29,304 4,300 12.8
East Gippsland Water 8,272 6,496 1,776 21.5
Central Gippsland Water 42,021 32,080 9,941 23.7
Goulburn Valley Water 46,267 37,416 8,851 19.1
Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water 20,017 16,244 3,773 18.8
Lower Murray Water 40,243 24,708 15,535 38.6
North East Water 34,391 19,817 14,574 42.4
South Gippsland Water 7,663 6,480 1,183 15.4
Wannon Water 31,626 18,976 12,650 40.0
Western Water2 27,906 25,115 2,791 10.0
Westernport Water 6,062 5,598 464 7.7
13 Regional water corporations total ^359,394252,898106,49629.6
Goulburn-Murray Water 13,053 10,399 2,654 20.3
Southern Rural Water 1,559 0 1,559 100.0
2 Rural water corporations total ^ 14,612 10,399 4,213 28.8

1. The baseline is defined as the average annual greenhouse gas emissions emitted by a water corporation between 2011-2016.

2. Different greenhouse gases have different Global Warming Potentials. This means that one tonne of one greenhouse gas, such as methane, may be “stronger” (absorb, or trap, more heat over time) than one tonne of another greenhouse gas, such as carbon dioxide. To standardise these greenhouse gases and make them comparable to one another, greenhouse gases are converted into tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2-e). For example, the Global Warming Potential of carbon dioxide (CO2) is 1. So, one tonne of a greenhouse gas with a ‘Global Warming Potential’ of 100 would be converted into 100 tonnes of CO2-e. This standardisation makes comparisons of different greenhouse gases much easier.

3. On 1 July 2021, City West Water and Western Water will merge forming a new water corporation - Greater Western Water.

Each Victorian water corporation is different, with different circumstances. Each water corporation faces different challenges, different emissions profiles, and also different opportunities to reduce their emissions. That’s why DELWP worked closely and collaboratively with each water corporation to set targets which are both ambitious and appropriate to those differing circumstances. For example, Western Water has set an emissions reduction target to reduce emissions by 10% by 2025. However, given the large population growth expected in Melbourne’s west this 10% reduction actually represents a projected 50% reduction on emissions compared with business-as-usual projections. While each water corporation’s target is different, all water corporations have considered price impacts for customers when setting targets, and are reducing emissions efficiently, effectively, and at lowest possible cost.

Victoria’s water corporations are reducing emissions and achieving their targets through many different initiatives and projects. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • investing in more efficient equipment
  • capturing biogas for energy generation
  • using renewable electricity projects
  • purchasing more renewable energy
  • driving electric vehicles, and
  • generating carbon offsets (by planting trees, for example)

Victoria’s catchment management authorities (CMAs) are working in partnership with Traditional Owners and Victoria’s water corporations. Together they are identifying opportunities for carbon sequestration. For example, by protecting wetlands and planting trees with local landholders. The Natural Resource Management Climate website provides further information about how CMAs are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can also find more emissions reduction case studies on our Taking action: showcasing projects reducing the Victorian water sector’s emissions page.

By acting now and investing smartly, the sector will be well-placed to tackle climate change and reduce emissions. This will help us avoid the need for more drastic and costly action later.

Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2017 provides Victoria with a world-leading legislative foundation to manage climate change risks, maximise the opportunities that arise from decisive action, and drive our transition to a climate resilient community and economy with net zero emissions by 2050. The Act:

  • establishes a long-term emissions reduction target for Victoria of net-zero by 2050
  • requires five yearly interim targets, to keep Victoria on track to meet this long-term target
  • requires the government to develop a Climate Change Strategy every five years. The Strategy sets out how Victoria will meet its targets and adapt to the impacts of climate change

provides Victoria with a world-leading legislative foundation to manage climate change risks, maximise the opportunities that arise from decisive action, and drive our transition to a climate resilient community and economy with net zero emissions by 2050.

Page last updated: 09/12/20