Findings from four years of research through the DELWP-led Victorian Water and Climate Initiative (VicWaCI) have been released.

Overseen by the Water and Catchments Group’s Hydrology and Climate Science team, VicWaCI sought to better understand our climate and water cycle is changing over time. The initiative is a partnership between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and research teams at the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, and The University of Melbourne.

The findings are available in Victoria’s Water in a Changing Climate and will assist in the Victorian water sector continuing to show leadership in responding to climate change, as laid out in Water for Victoria.

The research conducted by VicWaCI has also been used to develop the 2020 edition of the Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Water Availability in Victoria.  The guidelines present a consistent approach for applying climate change assessments for water resource modelling and planning.

Key findings in the Victoria’s Water in a Changing Climate report include:

  • The decline in rainfall during the April–October cool season would have likely not been as large without the influence of increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases
  • Quantification of the contribution of different weather systems to the amount of rainfall received across different parts of Victoria, how this changes seasonally and observed trends in these weather systems over time
  • Identification of the catchments across Victoria where a significant shift in the runoff response to rainfall was observed during the Millennium Drought, and catchments where these reductions have continued since the end of the drought
  • During the Millennium Drought, more than half of the Victorian catchments analysed experienced an extra 20 to 40 per cent decline in their annual streamflow due to the shift in rainfall–runoff relationships
  • How different climate and runoff projections compare, and methods for developing improved runoff projections