Victoria’s water corporations and catchment management authorities have been working hard to repair and replace essential water infrastructure and restore our waterways and catchments.

Our recovery priorities

  • Water services and infrastructure are restored and improved
  • Communities feel supported when responsible for their own water management
  • Water Corporations build the resilience of their systems to future bushfire impacts
  • Priority waterways and catchment assets are repaired to protect water quality and the natural environment
  • Community knowledge is incorporated, and communities are resourced to deliver environment and biodiversity recovery

The 2019-20 bushfires across eastern Victoria impacted over 1.5 million hectares, including 53% of the East Gippsland catchment and 22% of the North East catchment.

Brodribb River - post bushfire

Waterways and catchments can take a significant amount of time to recover from bushfires.

Brodribb River - post bushfire

Image courtesy East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority

The following initiatives are underway to support initial and longer-term recovery needs for waterways and communities that rely on water infrastructure:

  • Restoring waterways and catchments to support regional communities and local economies: The Victorian Government has invested $6.5 million to help restore waterway and catchment health in East Gippsland and North East Victoria. Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) have commenced work repairing riparian fencing and off-stream watering systems, controlling weeds and tackling priority risks such as impacts of erosion and debris on water quality.
  • Repair, replacement, and improvement of essential water infrastructure: The Victorian Government has invested $3.8 million to repair, replace and improve water monitoring stations, emergency water supply points, and flood warning gauges across North East Victoria and East Gippsland. East Gippsland Water and North East Water will receive a share of this funding to improve the resilience of essential water management assets.

Works to repair damaged catchment infrastructure and restore waterway health will provide benefits for aquatic species and ecosystems, and local communities that depend on waterways for recreation, tourism and agriculture.

Tambo river post bushfire

Tambo river post bushfire

Images courtesy East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority

Tambo river recovery

Tambo river post recovery

The $7.5 million Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program, announced in August 2020, will provide rebates of up to $20,000 for the replacement of primary rainwater and septic tanks for households not connected to reticulated systems. This program is open until May 2023.

Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program

Work in the water sector started while the fires were still burning to support impacted communities, waterways, and aquatic species.

We provided $2.6 million for relief and early recovery activities across the water sector to:

  • establish insurance populations and relocate iconic fish species such as Murray Cod
  • undertake priority works in and around waterways, including clearing debris around bridges
  • provide relief and early recovery drinking water to impacted households
  • provide emergency stock water.

Lauren Johnson with large Murray cod

Lauren Johnson from Victoria's Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) with one of the large Murray cod found in Cudgewa Creek during electro fishing work that is part of the North East CMA's Bushfire Recovery Program - November 2020
Image courtesy of Andrew Briggs, North East Catchment Management Authority

Our recovery priorities and key activities contribute to the Eastern Victorian Fires 2019-20 State Recovery Plan. This plan presents the Victorian Government’s priorities and actions for bushfire-affected areas from August 2020 – December 2021.

Bushfire recovery assistance is still available to support households and communities re-establishing themselves. Anyone seeking assistance should contact their local council or their local Bushfire Recovery Victoria Community Recovery Hub

Page last updated: 23/02/21