Urban flooding is a serious issue to the economic, social and environmental cost in metropolitan Melbourne. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to reviewing the arrangements between Melbourne Water and local government authorities in a bid to clarify responsibilities for urban stormwater risk management, related assets and services in the Melbourne metropolitan area.

DELWP, the  Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and Melbourne Water will be working together to seek output from councils and other stakeholders to the review.

Fast facts

  • Flooding in metropolitan Melbourne and urban areas across Victoria is a growing problem as we see increased severe storm events and more non-permeable surfaces.
  • Flood, drainage and stormwater management needs to deliver several outcomes to better meet the needs of the community and the environment now and into the future.
  • In metropolitan Melbourne, many stormwater and drainage assets are currently impacted by the 60-ha catchment boundary threshold.
  • The review of urban stormwater management will help clarify responsibilities between Melbourne Water and local government.  
  • DELWP, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and Melbourne Water will be working together to seek input from councils and other stakeholders to the review.

Melbourne Urban Stormwater Review

In Melbourne, there are approximately 232,000 properties estimated to be at risk from flooding from the rivers, creeks and drains in Melbourne. The annual average damage cost of flooding has been estimated by Melbourne Water to be $399 million. A significant amount of this flooding and annual average damages may be associated with local drains.

Current approaches to stormwater management have shifted away from moving water off the land and into bays as quickly as possible to using surface water as a resource. This can provide benefits such as improved flood mitigation, water quality, social amenity and irrigation for green infrastructure.

Frequent flooding can be mitigated by effective stormwater management infrastructure, and this is likely to decrease damages from stormwater flooding.

Appropriate management and design of flood, drainage and other water management assets is critical to managing stormwater. More localised water management of assets means that stormwater assets will be required to be provided by developers that would otherwise have been provided on a larger scale by Melbourne Water.

This review will help clarify responsibilities between Melbourne Water and local government for various aspects of stormwater management.

The review will identify and evaluate the current delineations between Melbourne Water and the 38 Councils in its catchment area.

For each asset and service type included in the scope of the review, the review aims to:

  • develop a broad approach to responsibilities (i.e. solely carried at one level of government or shared between state and local agencies)
  • identify constraints, challenges and opportunities
  • establish whether the 60-ha threshold is an appropriate method for allocating responsibilities or if another threshold or interface would produce better outcomes
  • identify how the newly agreed responsibilities will be implemented and governed.

A key focus will be on ensuring that any changes recommended will be workable and practical for Melbourne Water and Councils to implement.

The forum introduced council officers to the review, its proposed governance arrangements and timelines. The forum also provided an opportunity for council officers to:

  • Alert DELWP, MAV and Melbourne Water to the main issues and opportunities from council perspective
  • Provide input to the scope of the work to be undertaken
  • Find out about the opportunities for the ongoing process and engagement

Download the Outcomes Summary (PDF, 2.9 MB)

*The 60 hectare convention is no longer working *Upstream/downstream issues > how to be fair? *It won't be easy *It is about money so it's important to understand the model *It can't be "one size fits all" *Legacy issues *Clarity on respnisibilities *Cooperation is important

Stakeholder engagement timeline: Overview

Stage one

Project working group develops draft terms of engagement and governance structure for Steering Committee.

Stage two

First LGA engagement workshop held 31st May 2017 report published.

Stage three

Expressions of interest recieved mid 2017 for LGAs to sit on sub-group.

Stage four

DELWP prepares Issues Paper for engagment with LGAs and other stakeholders.

Stage five

Recommendations presented for LGAs for feedback.

Stage six

Prepare recommendations paper for negotiation with LGAs via MAV & MW for approval by authorities in late 2018.

Stakeholder engagement timeline: Detailed

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Page last updated: 16/09/19