Under this initiative, the nine regional catchment management authorities (CMAs) have undertaken a range of activities to facilitate appropriate use and development of our public waterways. These activities are largely administrative in nature, including:

  • in partnership with other relevant local Authorities (especially Local Government), assessing and issuing/approving licences and permits under the Water Act
  • provision of floodplain referral advice and related strategic floodplain management activities
  • disputes and enforcement activities regarding approved uses of waterways
  • education and information provision in the community regarding safe and appropriate use of waterways
  • provision of specialist technical waterway advice and input to a wide variety of local agency and community initiatives.

Some funds are also allocated to targeted on ground works to protect or improve priority waterway areas.

Total EC3 investment: $13.6 m 
2014-15 expenditure: $ 6.8 m  
2015-16 expenditure: $6.8 m


In 2015-16, this initiative delivered higher rates of services and activities for the community than in the previous year, demonstrating the high value that the community places on our waterways, and the importance of receiving accurate and timely advice.

Across the nine regional CMAs, an integrated set of projects was delivered to meet the requirements described above. Highlights of these projects include:

  • Provision of over 5,000 separate instances of formal advice and responses to enquiries from the general public and local authorities regarding allowable uses of waterways.  This includes advice regarding flood levels in relation to property development.
  • Provision of over 550 permits and licenses to the general public and local authorities to manage allowable activities in and around waterways.
  • Engagement with over 1,100 members of the public at planned activities in local towns regarding the safe management of our waterways, including presentations, workshops and training sessions.
  • Installation of two new gauging stations on the Lower Barwon Wetlands to help monitor water levels and inform the management of water levels at Reedy Lake, in line with Ramsar obligations.
  • Working with Barwon Water to initiate public consultation and prepare a water delivery plan for Painkalac Reservoir.
  • Improving key safety elements of some of the Woady Yaloak and Lough Calvert drainage schemes' structures (including at the Black Bridge Barrage regulator), as well as completing weed management requirements around the Cundare Pool and Lake Martin.
  • Planning for the replacement of the 180 metre long Barwon River Rowing landing structure. The rowing landing is critical infrastructure for safe access to the river by over 1,100 active members of the rowing clubs and schools, and the broader community.
  • Continued high standard of maintaining assets contained within the Barwon through Geelong river reserves, including asphalt refurbishment of the Wal Whiteside Walk, sign replacement after vandalism, and tree planting within Frederick Morton and West Fyans Reserves.
  • Supporting local agencies and landholders with their natural disaster recovery activities, including recovery from the early 2015 Wye River and Scottsburn fires.
  • Undertaking a series of four fish surveys on the Lower Barwon Fishway from October to December 2015.
  • Supporting recreational anglers through involvement in the Wild Trout Fisheries Management Program, including presenting at the Wild Trout Conference in Mansfield in November 2015, presenting at the state-wide Trout Cod workshop, and finalisation of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Macquarie Perch Knowledge Gap Plan.
  • Significant technical support to local agencies during the response to the Murray River blue-green algae outbreak that occurred in late summer 2016.
  • Removal of builder's waste, believed to be asbestos, from the Goulburn River two days before Christmas 2015 following a report to the EPA.
  • Direct support to physical improvements to priority waterways, for example West Gippsland CMA partnered with Bass Coast Landcare Network to rehabilitate a highly visible site on Foster Creek, a tributary of the Powlett River.
  • Collaborative work to reduce serious habitat threats to priority waterways, for example West Gippsland CMA ground crews completed spraying of the highly invasive noxious weed Spartina in the estuaries of the rivers flowing into the Corner Inlet Ramsar site.  Ground-based spraying was complemented by aerial spraying, and together these activities achieved a comprehensive spray run of the entire Corner Inlet in 2015-16.
  • Presentation on flooding at Robinvale by Mallee CMA staff, to launch Flood Safe Guides. The unique aspect of this launch was that the Flood Safe Guides launched were in five additional languages other than English due the multicultural nature of the local community. Additional languages the guide was translated into were Fijian, Tongan, Vietnamese, Khmer and Italian.
  • Launch of an automated flood advice website, Flood Eye, in North Central CMA region, which allows members of the public to obtain instantaneous flood advice for a property of interest for free. This effectively reduces the response time for providing flood advice from approximately 14 days to less than one minute. A total of 801 reports were downloaded between November 2015 and June 2016.
  • Support to lead authorities by providing flood-related information and advice on major projects, for example in Wimmera CMA:  Western Highway duplication, WIM150 mineral sands mining proposal south of Horsham and the Horsham Bypass.
  • Protection of previous investments into waterway health, for example in East Gippsland, a proportion of funding was allocated to ensure the Tambo River remains free of invasive willow species.
  • Working in conjunction with local councils and shires to deliver planning scheme amendments to incorporate floodplain overlays in many rural towns potentially at risk from flooding.
  • Partnering with local government to support new and revised floodplain management studies and projects in over 30 rural townships and regions, also including support to some Municipal Flood Emergency Management Plans. This support regularly includes attendance and presentations at community meetings.
  • Provision of support to VicSES, including assistance in finalising SES Town Flood Guides, and support at SES Flood Exercises.
  • Provision of specialist technical support to local agencies in a variety of matters at VCAT in relation to safe management of waterways.
  • Coordination of delivery of surface water monitoring programs through regional water monitoring partnerships.

Further information on specific activities undertaken in each CMA region, and on performance standards in relation to service delivery, can also be found in the relevant CMAs' Annual Reports, which are published on their websites each September.

Page last updated: 30/10/18