The Commonwealth Government’s Water Efficiency Program  has made $1.5 billion in funding available for efficiency measures that contribute to an additional 450 GL of water recovery for the environment that the Basin Plan allows for above the 2,750 GL target.

Developing socio-economically neutral or positive water efficiency projects

The Victorian Government has established a process through which DELWP and partner agencies (e.g. Water Corporations and Catchment Management Authorities) work with proponents to develop water efficiency project proposals that comply with the agreed socio-economic criteria.

Arrow-shaped graphic demonstrating the state's requirements relating to Project Development and Community Feedback and then the Commonwealth's responsibility towards Contractual Arrangements.

Victorian process for developing water efficiency projects.

The key steps of the process are:
  • Proponents (i.e. private business, water corporation or other public agencies) identify a water efficiency opportunity then contact DELWP to discuss it.
  • DELWP will provide high-level guidance on meeting the socio-economic criteria as part of project development.
  • Proponents work collaboratively with DELWP and relevant agencies to develop a project proposal/business case* that meets the socio-economic criteria. DELWP then checks the project’s compliance with the socio-economic criteria.
  • If the criteria are satisfied the project will be made available for public comment. If the criteria are not satisfied, proponents will determine how to proceed (e.g. adjust project design).
  • Non-sensitive socio-economic information about the project will be published on Engage Victoria for public comment for a period of two weeks (10 business days).
  • DELWP will consider the feedback received and appropriate responses. DELWP’s response to the feedback will be published online within 10 business days of the consultation period closing.
  • If changes to the proposal are necessary to respond to community concerns, proponents will decide how to proceed (e.g. adjust project design). If no action is necessary, project proposals will be submitted to the Commonwealth with socio-economic information attached.
  • The Commonwealth will then make funding approval decisions and contractual agreements.

*Major projects may seek funding for business case development from the Commonwealth.

Socio-economic assessment of water efficiency projects

Socio-economic assessment of all proposed Victorian water efficiency projects will be undertaken by DELWP, prior to being submitted to the Commonwealth for funding.

The key elements of the socio-economic assessment are:

  • the validity of water savings
  • potential impacts on water prices
  • community and industry engagement
  • the future viability of proponent businesses and irrigation districts
  • socio-economic, environmental and cultural outcomes
  • third-party impacts on irrigation districts, water market and regional communities
  • integrated implementation opportunities
  • improving drought and climate resilience

The socio-economic assessment process includes a period of public comment. Public comment on efficiency measures is Basin-wide so you can have your say on all projects proposed throughout the Basin.

To keep informed of upcoming Victorian project consultations sign up to Engage Victoria. For updates on all other Commonwealth Water Efficiency Program project consultations register with the Department of Agriculture’s ‘Have Your Say’.

More information

To register your interest in developing a Victorian water efficiency project, or to submit a project for socio-economic assessment complete the inquiry form or contact us with details from the form via email at

For information about program eligibility and details of the other Basin jurisdictions socio-economic assessment processes please the visit the Commonwealth’s Water Efficiency Program website.

For more information on Victoria’s approach to additional water recovery, view our fact sheet using the links below:

Page last updated: 08/04/20