Victoria has in place a planning framework that remains adaptive and robust to respond to the challenges ahead. Planning processes operate across various landscape scales and time frames with many different organisations and stakeholders.
There are two key elements of Victoria’s long-term water resource planning framework. These are:
- A long-term water resource assessment, which is broad in scale and determines whether resource availability has changed; and, if so,
- The severity of the impact on consumption and environmental use.
The program of long-term water resource assessments is due to commence for the first time in August 2018.
Sustainable water strategies are regionally focused and identify and manage threats to the supply and quality of water resources. The strategies aim to ensure entitlement holders have the tools, including trade and carryover, to manage their own risks and identify the potential to improve waterway health.
Victoria’s long-term planning arrangements are set out in the Water Act 1989 have been designed to:
- Provide stable and secure water supplies over time;
- Acknowledge and cater for regional variability in water supplies and water sources;
- Ensure stakeholders have tools available to make the most effective decisions about their water resources and to allow intervention if assumptions about water supply are no longer valid;
- Ensure appropriate governance for independent oversight of resource assessment and the need for any corrective action; and
- Involve community and stakeholders in all stages of long-term planning.
Existing sustainable water strategies
Four regional sustainable water strategies covering the state were produced between 2006 and 2011. The first strategies completed were the Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy in 2006 and the Northern Region SWS in 2009. The Gippsland Region SWS and the Western Region SWS were completed in November 2011.
These sustainable water strategies set out long-term plans to secure the water future of Victoria's regions. These strategies identified threats to water availability in each region and identify policies and actions to help water users, water corporations and catchment management authorities manage and respond to those threats over the next 50 years.