Consultation is now open on Engage Victoria to provide feedback on the draft Water Cycle Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan
The water cycle produces some of our most basic needs - water for drinking, growing food, supporting diverse ecosystems, and providing sites of recreational and cultural significance.
The Water Cycle Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2022–2026 (Water Cycle AAP) is a five-year action plan that focuses on the impact of climate change on Victoria’s water cycle system. It aims to build a strong foundation for a climate-resilient Victoria. It is one of seven systems developing plans under the Climate Change Act 2017. The other six systems are the built environment, education and training, health and human services, natural environment, primary production and transport.
The draft plan proposes a package of 19 ambitious yet realistic actions to be delivered over the next five years. These actions contribute towards long term outcomes of:
- diverse water supplies
- resilient infrastructure and natural assets
- operational resilience and efficiency
- an engaged community
- an orderly transition under climate change.
The Water Cycle AAP will be finalised in late 2021.
The draft Water Cycle AAP is currently available for public consultation on Engage Victoria, alongside plans for the other six systems. You can help shape the Water Cycle AAP by answering our short survey on the Engage Victoria website.
Public consultation will close on 6 August 2021.
Frequently asked questions
The impacts of climate change are being felt across the water cycle system and are likely to increase in frequency and severity. By 2050, impacts could include:
- less water available to use and trade, increasing water market prices
- damage to infrastructure needed for essential water and wastewater services
- lower stream flows and reduced water quality
- restrictions on water being used for recreation and private gardens
- overwhelmed drainage, increasing the chance of flash flooding and sewer spills
- peaks in water demand during heat waves that may exceed the capacity of the water grid to supply
Adapting to the impacts of climate change will reduce current and future risks, build social and economic resilience, and ensure Victoria is best placed to take advantage of opportunities across the water cycle.
Water Supply - the collection, storage, treatment, delivery, and supply of water, including recycled water.
Sewerage - wastewater services, including the collection, treatment and disposal through sewer systems and treatment plants.
Drainage - drainage services including the operation of drainage systems.
Flood management - flood management services including the operation and maintenance of infrastructure to mitigate floods.
The Water Cycle Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan (Water Cycle AAP) is the Victorian Government’s climate change adaptation action plan for the water cycle system. It is one of seven system-based plans, building a strong foundation for a climate-resilient Victoria long term. Under the Climate Change Act 2017 the plan must contain, at a minimum:
- a statement of climate adaptation roles and responsibilities across the water cycle system;
- an assessment of how existing water policies and programs address the adaptation priorities in Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy
- actions over the next five years to address gaps or shortcomings identified in the assessment
A Water Cycle AAP will be developed every five years until 2050 so government can adjust its adaptation efforts based on the latest climate information available, previous learnings, and opportunities that may arise over time.
The draft Water Cycle AAP proposes a package of 19 ambitious yet realistic actions over the next five years. These actions range from supporting decision makers, reviewing policies to reduce adaptation barriers, improving stakeholder collaboration to tackle complex problems, and laying the foundations for transformational change across the community. With water corporations making up roughly one-quarter of the Victorian Government’s greenhouse gas emissions annually, actions also focus on harnessing opportunities to reduce water-related emissions that directly contribute to the climate change problem. This helps Victoria’s water sector transition to a low carbon economy of the future.
Actions proposed in the Water Cycle AAP represent potential adaptation work within the system and may evolve based on consultation feedback and knowledge gained in the early years of AAP implementation, as well as budget processes over the five-year life of the AAP.
Seven system-based adaptation action plans are being prepared in total. These climate change adaptation action plans are one of the key mechanisms for the Victorian Government to deliver on its five-year adaptation priorities outlined in the broader Climate Change Strategy. The six other AAP systems are: the built environment, education and training, health and human services, natural environment, primary production and transport. Differences between the AAPs reflect their unique climate change vulnerabilities, stakeholder needs and roles for government.
Six community-led regional adaptation strategies are also being prepared to complement the state-wide AAPs. These focus on the distinct climate change impacts and priorities of each region.
Many water sector organisations, such as water corporations and catchment management authorities, prepare and deliver regional climate change related plans relevant to their sectors, including adaptation, carbon sequestration and mitigation activities for catchment resilience.
The Water Cycle AAP is currently open for public consultation on the Engage Victoria website. There is a short survey available for you to have your say. Public consultation closes 25 July 2021.
For privacy reasons, contact details will not be collected so you won’t receive an individual response to your feedback. A feedback summary will be published on the Engage Victoria website outlining what feedback was received and how this has been incorporated into the final Water Cycle AAP.
There is an opportunity to comment on areas that don’t necessarily fit within the scope of an AAP system on the central AAP Engage Victoria page.
The Water Cycle AAP will be finalised in late 2021. Actions are expected to be delivered until 2025 before the next iteration of the Water Cycle AAP is released in 2026.
Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy is a roadmap to net-zero emissions and a climate resilient Victoria by 2050. The strategy includes the state’s interim emissions reduction targets, a suite of actions to reduce emissions, and the Victorian Government’s adaptation priorities for the next five years. The strategy’s adaptation priorities will be delivered in part through system-based adaptation action plans like the Water Cycle AAP. The strategy’s five-year adaptation priorities are shown below:
Page last updated: 09/07/21