This initiative is enhancing recreational use of Victoria’s waterways and water storages, implementing Chapter 7 of Water for Victoria. It will provide better information to the community, deliver better management approaches to achieve recreational and social objectives, and enhance the water sector’s capacity to provide services that support these objectives. 

Additionally, the Boosting Recreational Water Use initiative allocated $3.2 million to projects that are improving visitor enjoyment of waterways through improved access and visitor facilities at waterways across Victoria.

EC4 Expenditure to date

Enhancing waterway management for recreational values$1,110,000$140,000-
Water for Victoria: Recognising recreational values-$1,532,000$1,014,000
Remediate Green Lake (Sea Lake)-$1,880,000-
Boosting Recreational Water Use – Victorian Government Recreational Water Initiative--$1,595,000


Amendments to the Water Act 1989 passed by Parliament in 2019 enshrined community uses of waterways and recreational benefits into law for the first time across Victoria. These amendments require water corporations, CMAs and the VEWH to consider opportunities to provide for social and recreational uses and values of waterways in performing their functions.  

We are seeing this in action through many examples.

Community Engagement

Water corporations and CMAs are undertaking community engagement to incorporate recreational user perspectives in water and waterway planning.  

The Lake Eppalock Advisory Group has brought together community members and key stakeholders over 4 years and resulted in the delivery of a suite of projects including works to rejuvenate the Kimbolton Foreshore precinct and technical investigations into options for improving water-skiing experiences at low water levels as well as fish habitat for angling opportunities.  

In May 2018, Dartmouth Pondage (Lake Banimboola) was opened for shore-based recreational angling after Goulburn Murray worked closely with community members and stakeholders to explore the possibilities for safe access.

Community perspectives have also been heard through DELWP’s “Our Say” forum. Community feedback was gathered on three recreational water projects at Donald, Taylors Lake and Green Lake at Sea Lake, which were then selected for drought funding.

This led to the funding of the Bringing Water Back to Green Lake (Sea Lake) project which was completed in September 2018.  This project achieved remediation of lake bed seepage to enable delivery of recreational water to the Lake.

Water corporations and CMAs are also engaging with community members and local recreation users to deliver Boosting Recreational Water Use initiative projects.


All CMA and Water Corporation 2020-2024 corporate plans now incorporate consideration of ‘recreational values’.

VEWH and CMAs incorporate recreational objectives in environmental water management. Our environmental flows continue to provide shared benefits for recreational users. For example, in 2019, as in previous years, the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority worked closely with the Horsham Fishing Competition Committees, to ensure weir pool levels were suitable for the fishing competition.

In western Victoria, Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water is continuing their work with the community to supply recreational water to priority lakes. In recent years, GWMWater has put shared benefits into action at Toolondo by providing water supply after trigger levels at Rocklands Reservoir were met.

For our urban waterways, the Yarra Strategic Plan, Waterways of the West, the Barwon River Action Plan are all considering recreational values as a key part of broader plans for these waterways.

Studies have been undertaken that are improving our understanding of the value of recreational enjoyment of waterways.

GWMWater, the Wimmera CMA and the VEWH provided support for a socio-economic study of the value of recreational water use in the Wimmera region. A similar project has been undertaken by North East Catchment Management Authority for the North East region.


Partners under this initiative are collaborating on projects to achieve greater recreational enjoyment of Victoria’s waterways.  

The Lake Eppalock Advisory Group has resulted in collaboration between Goulburn Murray Water, local government, DELWP, the Victorian Fisheries Authority community members to undertake priority projects to improve recreational enjoyment of the Lake.

In 2019, Coliban Water and Goulburn Murray Water collaborated with the Victorian Fisheries Authority to implement the Victorian Government’s election commitment to provide access for non-powered craft and small craft with electric motors to more waterways including Tullaroop, Lauriston, Hepburn, Barkers Creek, Upper Coliban and Malmsbury reservoirs.

Barkers Creek Reservoir opened for paddling access on 11 April 2019 and Tullaroop Reservoir opened on 21 May. Hepburn Lagoon, Lauriston, Barkers Creek, Upper Coliban and Malmsbury reservoirs opened on 1 August.

Lower Murray Water is collaborating with other government and community groups to make sure the recreational water uses that encourage vital tourism to the region are considered in planning. An example is the new river laneway installed at Kings Billabong.

Information and Communication

The Recreational User Information Needs Analysis has been completed and is informing planning for future information improvements.

Many water agencies have made improvements to existing information platforms – for example, GMWs online interactive water level mapping for Lake Eildon and Lake Eppalock.

Reporting and Measuring

A Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Plan has been developed. Data is being collected through Recreational Values projects and water agency information and reporting where available.

Page last updated: 22/10/19