Victoria’s climate has been warming and drying for several decades. Records show the streamflow in many of our catchments has reduced by half - or more - over the last 20 years.
The amount of water we have and the amount of water we need change for many reasons, including:
- climate change
- population growth
- changing uses and values for water
As Victoria evolves, so do our water requirements. We need to understand and plan for changing water availability to make sure we have enough water for cities and towns, industry and the environment into the future.
Long‑term water resource assessments (LTWRAs) help us monitor the state of our water resources. Under the Water Act (1989) we perform a LTWRA every 15 years so we have the best information available when we’re creating water policy. The first LTWRA will start for southern Victoria in 2018.
TheLTWRA will use the best available data and sophisticated modelling techniques to determine whether long‑term water availability has changed, and if so, whether there has been a disproportionate impact on consumers or the environment .
The assessment may determine that waterway health has declined for flow‑related reasons, ie: there isn’t enough water at the right times to maintain a healthy river ecosystem.
We’ll be working with key stakeholders and industry specialists to create the best research methods and make sure the assessment is performed to the highest possible standard.
After the assessment
The next steps will depend on the results we get from the assessment.
If the results show that long-term water availability has changed with a disproportionate impact on consumers or the environment, or waterway health has declined, we need to do something about it. We’ll start with an open, consultative review to determine how we can address any issues identified. The review will need to consider the social, environmental and economic aspects of any potential change to policy. We’ll align all reviews with the Sustainable Water Strategies.
If the assessment finds that there hasn’t been a reduction in available water or decline in waterway health, then a review may not be necessary and another LTWRA will take place in 15 years.