Image of Lake Fyans by Daniel Burton.

Water Resource Plans for Victoria

The Basin Plan aims to achieve healthy, working rivers that support productive and resilient water-dependent industries, healthy and resilient ecosystems and communities with access to sufficient and reliable water supplies. The Basin Plan requires all Murray-Darling Basin states, including Victoria, to prepare water resource plans by June 2019.

The Murray-Darling Basin contains 20 surface water and 22 groundwater water resource plan areas, as well as six combined surface water and groundwater water resource plan areas.

Victoria has five water resource plan areas—three surface water and two groundwater. These are:

  • Victorian Murray water resource plan area (SW2) 
  • Wimmera–Mallee (groundwater) water resource plan area (GW3)
  • Northern Victoria water resource plan area (SW3) 
  • Goulburn–Murray water resource plan area (GW2) 
  • Wimmera–Mallee (surface water) water resource plan area (SW4) 

image showing the boundaries of Victoria’s five water resource plan areas.

To meet our obligations, Victoria is working on two plans across its five Water Resource Plan areas:

Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan front cover

Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan

  • Wimmera-Mallee (surface water) water resource plan area
  • Wimmera-Mallee (groundwater) water resource plan area

Victoria's North and Murray Water Resource Plan front cover

Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan

Sometimes referred to as the Northern Victoria Water Resource Plan.   

  • Victorian Murray water resource plan area (surface water)   
  • Northern Victoria water resource plan area (surface water)  
  • Goulburn-Murray water resource plan area (groundwater)

Water resource plans are a key tool for implementing Basin Plan. A water resource plan is required for each water resource plan area in the Basin to improve consistency and transparency in water resource management across all Basin States.

A key component of water resource plans is to show how Victoria will comply with sustainable diversion limits on the volume of surface water and groundwater that can be taken and used in catchments from 1 July 2019. For more information on sustainable diversion limits visit the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

Chapter 10 of the Basin Plan outlines the requirements for water resource plans. These include:

  • setting out the quantity of held environmental water and planned environmental water, and incorporating the rules and management arrangements associated with delivery and use of this water
  • setting out how much water can be taken annually for consumptive use in a way that meets the SDL
  • ensuring that environmental watering is consistent with the Basin-wide environmental watering strategy
  • setting out the circumstances when trade is allowed within and between groundwater SDL resource units and from groundwater to surface water SDL resource units
  • outlining how water will be managed during extreme events
  • setting out how interception activities will be managed and monitored, including runoff dams, commercial plantations, mining activities and floodplain harvesting
  • a plan to manage water quality standards
  • outlining the risks to water resources and strategies to address these risks
  • identification of Traditional Owner objectives and outcomes for water resource management

For details on how Victoria responded to each requirement in Chapter 10 of the Basin Plan see the Wimmera-Mallee Index Table (PDF, 419.9 KB) and Victoria’s North and Murray Index Table (PDF, 668.7 KB).

Victoria reviewed our current measures, commitments and strategies already in place under Victorian legislation to determine whether we need to make improvements or changes to meet obligations under the Basin Plan. In most instances, Victoria’s framework was sufficient to support the meeting of Basin Plan requirements. There may be instances where obligations are created under the relevant water resource plan to ensure Victoria is responding to a specific Basin Plan requirement that does not strictly align with existing arrangements.

Fundamental to developing water resource plans was the assessment of current and future risks to determine how water resource plans should respond to residual risks to the availability and condition of Victoria’s water resources. The risk assessment considered risks at a water resource plan area scale rather than a localised scale. Residual risks are those identified after existing management arrangements were applied. For more information on the risk assessments undertaken see Appendix B in the Wimmera-Mallee Comprehensive Report and Victoria’s North and Murray Comprehensive Report.

Victoria's water resource plans were developed in partnership with water corporations, catchment management authorities and in consultation with environmental managers, Traditional Owners, industry bodies, local government and Basin communities.

A Technical Advisory Group was set up for the development of each water resource plan which included stakeholders from relevant rural and urban water corporations, catchment management authorities, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, peak bodies including Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN), the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), VicWater, Environment Victoria and the Goulburn Valley Environment Group.

Public consultation on the draft Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan ran for three months in mid-2017 and involved two public meetings and various stakeholder briefings. 12 written submissions were received.

Public consultation on the draft Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan ran for two months in early 2019 and involved 11 public meetings and various stakeholder briefings.  42 written submissions were received.

Victoria worked closely with Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) and Traditional Owner groups identified as having an interest in water within Victoria’s water resource plan areas. The engagement was tailored to the needs of each Traditional Owner group, by providing the opportunity for each Traditional Owner group to tell us how they wanted to be engaged with and to develop their own content for inclusion. The contributions of 9 different Traditional Owner groups can be found in Part 11 (PDF, 3.5 MB) of the Wimmera-Mallee Comprehensive Report and contributions of 14 different Traditional Owner groups in Chapter 8 (PDF, 2.9 MB) and Appendix F (PDF, 666.4 KB) for Victoria’s North and Murray Comprehensive Report.

Further details on public consultation and Traditional Owner engagement can be found in the Consultation Report (Appendix D) of both water resource plans.

Refer to “other publications” (below) for a standalone publication compiling Traditional Owner contributions across both water resource plans.

The water resource plans were also developed with feedback from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority will assess Victoria's water resource plans before they are accredited by the Commonwealth Minister for Water.

Victoria’s water resources are managed by the Minister, water corporations, catchment management authorities, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, and other regulatory bodies (see Figure 2 below)

The figure shows the roles and responsibilities of key entities in Victoria’s water sector and how they relate to one another.

The Victorian Water Act sets out statutory rights and entitlements to take and use water in Victoria. For more information on access to take and use water see Part 6 (PDF, 9.3 MB) of the Wimmera-Mallee Comprehensive Report and Chapter 7 (PDF, 1.1 MB) of Victoria’s North and Murray Comprehensive Report.

Victoria submitted the proposed Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan to the MDBA on 22 February 2019. The Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan covers:

  • the Wimmera-Avon, Avoca and Mallee surface water basins
  • the Wimmera-Mallee and Avoca groundwater catchments

See how water is used in the Wimmera-Mallee water resource plan area.

Development of the Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan included engagement with a Technical Advisory Group (in respect of the water resource plan as a whole and the risk assessment), key stakeholders and extensive public consultation. Public consultation on the draft Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan ran for three months in mid-2017 and involved two public meetings and various stakeholder briefings. 12 written submissions were received.

Follow the links to download a copy of the key documents for the Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan submission:

The Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan was accredited by the Commonwealth Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management on 19 September 2019. See the formal instruments:

The Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan Comprehensive Report is the key document that provides the supporting information for the Index Table and explains how water resources are managed in Victoria. To request a digital copy of the full comprehensive report or to inquire about accessible versions of the report please contact the WRP team. The document is broken into the following Parts and Appendices:

Victoria submitted the proposed Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan to the MDBA on 30 April 2019. Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan covers:

  • the Mitta Mitta, Kiewa, Ovens, Broken, Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon rivers connected to the Murray
  • floodplain wetlands of the Murray River, such as Hattah Lakes, Lindsay Island and Barmah National Park, and the connected wetlands in the Loddon, Goulburn and Ovens catchments
  • all groundwater in the northern Victoria area
  • the Sunraysia and Goulburn-Murray irrigation districts

See how water is used in Victoria’s North and Murray water resource plan area.

Development of Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan included engagement with a Technical Advisory Group (in respect of the water resource plan as a whole and the risk assessment), key stakeholders and extensive public consultation. Public consultation on the draft Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan ran for two months in early 2019 and involved 11 public meetings and various stakeholder meetings.  42 written submissions were received.

Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan was submitted to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on 30 April 2019. The following documents form part of the formal submission package:

Victoria’s North and Murray Comprehensive Report is the key document that provides the supporting information for the Index Table and explains how water resources are managed in Victoria. To request a digital copy of the full comprehensive report or to inquire about accessible versions of the report please contact the WRP team. The document is broken into the following Chapters and Appendices:

More information

Page last updated: 25/10/19