What is a Sustainable Water Strategy?

Two girls watering plants at a community garden

Sustainable Water Strategies (SWS) are long-term plans developed to secure a sustainable supply of water in Victoria's regions.

The Victorian Government is working with the community, the water sector and Traditional Owners to develop a Central and Gippsland Region SWS.

The Strategy will be a comprehensive plan for the sustainable use of water resources in the Central and Gippsland Region – an area that covers the waterways and catchments south of the Great divide down to the coast, from the Otways to Mallacoota.

The map shows the major waterways covered by Registered Aboriginal Parties and the respective boundaries

The Central and Gippsland Region SWS

Essential to the State’s liveability, sustainability, and prosperity, more than 6 million Victorians depend on the Central and Gippsland Region’s rivers, wetlands, and lakes to live, work and play. The region supports $4.7 billion of diverse dryland and irrigated agricultural production. It accounts for almost a third of Victoria’s dairy production and more than a quarter of the state’s beef and vegetable produce.

Climate change, population growth and water availability are a few of the challenges we face with our long-term water supply, and we need to plan now to secure our water future.

The Central and Gippsland Region SWS will focus on:

  • How we use water more efficiently
  • How we grow our water supplies
  • How we use all sources of water
  • How we share and manage water
  • How we invest to secure our water supplies

Why do we need a Central and Gippsland Region SWS?

With predicted drier and warmer conditions ahead, we need to find more water to secure our supplies for drinking and hygiene, rivers and wetlands, Traditional Owners, farmers, industries and tourism. Secure water supplies are fundamental for the economy, environment and health and wellbeing of the 90% of Victorians who rely on water in the region.

The Victorian Desalination Project underpins water security for Melbourne and surrounding regions including Geelong and South Gippsland. It helps build a storage buffer to prepare Victoria for drier years to come.

While the desalination plant remains essential to our water future, with our drying climate and growing population, we need to continue to look for additional climate-resilient water sources for the decades to come.

With less water available in our rivers we need to consider how we use and share this precious resource. Using all water sources helps to free up water in our rivers – to support native fish, platypus, and other species and for tourism and recreational activities such as fishing, boating and kayaking.  It also creates opportunities to return water to Traditional Owners.

The Victorian Government and water corporations have demonstrated their commitment to investing in water sources – recycled, rainwater and stormwater harvesting – as well as prioritising water saving through water efficiency measures. This SWS will consider how we use and share this precious resource more efficiently.

Farmers need a reliable water supply, so they continue producing for generations to come. Investing in the health of our rivers and waterways is particularly important to the economic, social, cultural and environmental future of our cities, suburbs and regional communities. That’s why the Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy is important.

Read the draft document

Community consultation on the discussion draft took place between 8 October 2021 and 10 December 2021. We are using the feedback provided by the community to help us develop the final Strategy.


Several Victorian Government strategies, plans, data sets and technical reports have been utilised to develop the discussion draft Strategy, ensure policy alignment and build upon existing efforts that are occurring across the water sector in the Central and Gippsland region. The links below provide additional information on each as well as an opportunity to download.

Water related challenges and opportunities for agriculture in the Central and Gippsland regions of southern Victoria

Contact the team

If you have further questions or would like to learn more, please get in touch with us!

Sustainable Water Strategy team

Page last updated: 28/04/22