Resilient and Liveable Cities and Towns

This initiative is delivering actions in Chapter 5 of Water for Victoria. Investment will drive collaborative planning and management of water and land to enhance liveability in our cities and towns, optimise use of diverse water sources to protect environments and waterways and support greater water efficiency in Victorian communities and industries.

EC4 Expenditure to date

Transforming cities and towns through efficient, integrated water management $6,254,670 $2,561,264 - ($10,000)
Water for Victoria: Resilient and liveable cities and towns - $3,290,751 $4,724,000 $4,394,000
Water Efficiency Program - - $1,000,000 $1,350,000
Water for Victoria: Promote innovation through Water Sensitive Cities CRC - $500,000 $500,000 $500,000
Smarter use of water in our cities and towns - - $4,000,000 $6,000,000
Integrated Water Management Program* --- $999,000

*Relates to reallocated funding towards the IWM funding from unspent funding


Integrated water management (IWM) program

The IWM Framework for Victoria has been developed to help government, the community and the water sector work together to plan, manage, and deliver water in Victoria’s towns and cities. The Framework was launched by the Minister for Water in September 2017. Fifteen IWM forums have now been established across metropolitan and regional Victoria, covering the Dandenong, Westernport, Maribyrnong, Werribee, Yarra, Barwon, Coliban, Central Highlands, Goulburn Broken, North East, East Gippsland, Great South Coast, Central and South Gippsland, Northern Mallee and Wimmera regions.

Strategic Directions Statements (SDSs) were developed for the 5 Melbourne IWM Forum areas and 9 of the 10 regional IWM Forums. The remaining SDS is under development. The SDSs outline the regions’ vision, objectives and priority collaborative projects. Government has co- invested $12.8 million towards 98 strategic projects under this initiative including several exemplar projects. These priority IWM projects have attracted over $19.7 million in co-contributions from project collaborators, and include creek restoration projects, stormwater harvesting and reuse initiatives, IWM planning and enhancing urban spaces and environments through water sensitive urban design, revegetation and habitat restoration.

A capacity building program has been delivered including masterclasses, case studies, facilitated workshops and seminars to improve understanding of the how to put integrated water management into proactive.

Urban water policy

In September 2018, the Stormwater Advisory Committee provided advice to the Planning and Water Ministers on better use of the planning system to improve stormwater management. Two key recommendations were implemented by the Minister for Planning in October 2018 to expand coverage of stormwater management obligations to most development types. Since then, 18 training sessions on the amendments have been delivered statewide to an audience of over 900 people. The government is working with key stakeholders to consider and implement the other recommendations.

DELWP is exploring changes to building regulations to go ‘beyond 6 star’. Victoria’s variation to the National Construction Code requiring new homes to install either solar hot water or a rainwater water tank was introduced in 2006. This project is reviewing the variation and examine alternative options for improving stormwater management at the lot scale.

EPA is finalising the review of the Urban Stormwater Best Environmental Management Practice guidelines in consultation with DELWP and the recycled water guidelines in consultation with DELWP and DHHS to ensure the regulatory framework allows greater end uses for recycled water while protecting the environment and public health. EPA is currently seeking public input on the draft guidelines. See the EPA draft stormwater guidelines.

DELWP has been leading a whole of government review and update of Victoria’s recycled water regulatory guidance. Existing guidelines are currently being reviewed, updated and consolidated. The objective of the first stage was to streamline and clarify approvals processes and facilitate an increased uptake of recycled water where risk to the environment and human health is acceptable. A draft Guideline has been made available for public consultation and a final Guideline will be published by EPA by 2021. Work has also commenced on a second stage technical review of some aspects of the Guidelines which are out-of-date. This second stage of work will inform future updates to the revised Guidance.

DELWP has also been working with water corporations to refine the economic evaluation framework for integrated water management proposals. Recent work in 2019-2020 has examined the extent to which current guidance and tools enable recycled water proposals to be consistently assessed for value for money, while accounting for different planning scales, local conditions and the multiple benefits of investment.

The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities is completing Tranche 2, which started in 2016, and focused on applying and testing research outcomes delivered in Tranche 1. Research outcomes from these projects will assist the Victorian water sector to respond to changes in the way we need to design, build and manage our cities and towns.

Water efficiency

The Target 155 (for Melbourne Metro) and Target Your Water Use (for Regional Victoria) water efficiency programs were launched by the Minister for Water in December 2016, to encourage Victorian householders to use water responsibly. All Victorian urban water corporations are implementing the programs with a range of state-wide and individual initiatives.

State-wide initiatives include the Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP), the Community Rebate Program, and the Smart Water Advice initiative. A Community Housing Retrofit Program has also been rolled out in Melbourne, Central Highlands and Lower Murray regions.

SWEP has helped more than 1,240 Victorian schools save 9 billion litres of water since 2012, which equates to almost $28 million in savings. The Community Rebate Program has assisted 13,208 vulnerable and hardship customers across the state, saving about 273 million litres of water a year, which equates to savings of over $1.1m or $83 per customer, per year in water and wastewater charges. The Community Housing Retrofit Program has helped 583 community housing properties save around 60 million litres of water per year, equating to over $202,000 or $347 per property, per year in water and wastewater charges. These programs contribute to ensuring water efficiency is improved even outside of drought periods.

The Victorian Water Efficiency Strategy was developed by the Victorian water industry and was signed off in September 2017. It encourages the identification of opportunities for Victoria’s urban water corporations to work collaboratively to deliver water efficiency initiatives, including potential state-wide initiatives.

Page last updated: 27/11/20