Strategy essentials

The role of the Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy (the strategy) is to secure the region’s long-term water supplies to protect jobs, farms, ecosystems, communities, and the cultural values of Traditional Owners in the region.

The strategy’s objectives are to:

  • secure the region’s urban water future and safe drinking supplies by using water wiser and more efficiently as well as increasing the use of manufactured water sources
  • return water to Traditional Owners across the region and strengthen Traditional Owners’ role in water resource planning and management
  • maintain and improve waterway health for environmental and healthy Country outcomes
  • build the resilience of agriculture to a drying and variable climate
  • provide for social and recreational uses and values of waterways.

There are four major water challenges facing the region:

  • Victoria is facing a future with a drying climate. This means less water flowing into rivers, and less water captured in water storages and dams.
  • Our population is growing and so is the demand for more water. More than 6 million people rely on water from the region. By 2056, this is projected to increase to over 10 million.
  • Rivers need more water to keep them healthy. The health of the region’s rivers, wetlands, floodplains and estuaries is affected by the drying climate. In turn, the health of Victoria’s rivers also affects the health of Victoria’s ecology, the community and the economy.
  • Traditional Owners have been left out of water planning, management and ownership and this needs to be remedied.  This recognises their deep cultural, spiritual, and economic connections to land, water and resources.
  • To find out more:

  • Read Chapter 1 of the Strategy: Our reality
  • Read about Hydrology and climate science research (
  • Read the Long-term water resource assessment
  • Watch the Webinar – The effect of climate change on water availability
  • Read about Victoria's future population projections
  • Watch the Webinar - Water for the environment

Victorians can be proud of their efforts to save water. We can all continue to do our bit to save water in our cities and towns, businesses, schools, on farms and in industry. There are actions we all can take to achieve significant water savings.

The Strategy identifies ways we can save up to an extra 38 billion litres of water per year.  This includes:

  • water efficiency campaigns
  • improved regulations
  • incentives that will help people, businesses and industry all save water

It also includes reducing Melbourne’s daily water use target to 150 litres per person per day (down from 155 litres)

To find out more:

The region’s water supplies will need to double in the next 50 years to meet our future water needs.  Building more dams isn’t the solution because in the future there won’t be enough rain to fill them. The region will need to transition from a reliance on river water to using more manufactured water supplies. We will better match end uses with fit for purpose water sources. For example, recycled water or stormwater will be used to irrigate sporting fields to reduce demand on drinking water supplies.

Manufactured water sources include:

  • recycled water
  • treated stormwater
  • desalinated water.

The Strategy lays out a range of options for new manufactured water supplies. These options will be further developed to ensure we have enough options ready if and when they are needed.

Options that will progress and brought online if needed include:

  • use of integrated water management to increase reuse of recycled water and stormwater, including:
    • large-scale recycled water supply networks in Greater Melbourne and Geelong
    • smaller recycled water and stormwater reuse projects across the region
  • expansion of desalination capacity.

To find out more:

  • Watch a short video about Recycled Water
  • Watch a short video about the Victorian Desalination Plant

The Strategy identifies ways to improve how we use and share water so we can make the most of all water sources.

Using water more efficiently and using more manufactured water will allow more water to stay in our rivers. This will help the native plants and animals that live in our rivers and support tourism and recreation. It will also create opportunities to return water to Traditional Owners.

Work that will be progressed includes:

  • Securing Geelong’s water supply and returning water to the Moorabool River by upgrading the Melbourne -Geelong pipeline
  • Securing Warragul and Drouin’s urban water supply by increasing Gippsland Water’s access to water from Tarago Reservoir
  • Reallocating water held by the Victorian Government that is no longer needed.
  • Develop a business case to transform how water is used and shared in the Werribee system
  • Review how water is used and monitored in small, dry peri-urban catchments.

To find out more:

Reach Chapter 4 of the Strategy: Sharing water for multiple benefits

The Strategy outlines a new approach to delivering water supplies and strengthens the community’s role in future decisions.

Early investment in readiness activities will create flexibility, smooth out cost impacts and help reduce lead times to have new water supplies constructed and water flowing when needed. Readiness activities will include feasibility studies and business cases.

Work that will be progressed includes:

  • publishing and regularly updating a Water Grid Plan to identify, track and progress regionally significant urban water supply options for the inter-connected south-central water grid
  • building community knowledge and involvement in water management.

To find out more:

The Strategy was developed by the Victorian Government (Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action) in partnership with Traditional Owner groups and the water sector.

The final Strategy incorporates feedback received from farmers, environment groups, the community and key stakeholders during public consultation on the Discussion Draft.

To find out more:

Yes, a Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy Discussion Draft was developed and released for public consultation in October 2021.

You can find the Discussion Draft here:

    Yes, the community was consulted in the development of the Strategy.

    Discussions on our vision and plans began with the community in April 2021. Preliminary engagement helped shape the discussion draft of the Strategy.

    Community consultation on the discussion draft took place between 8 October 2021 and 10 December 2021.

    To find out more about the consultation including consultation reports, please go to Engage Vic.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) will lead the Strategy’s implementation. Implementation will happen in partnership with the water sector, Traditional Owners and the community.

Conversations with businesses, agriculture groups, peak bodies, key stakeholders, and the community will continue. The implementation plan flags the opportunities for further engagement.

The department will provide updates in annual reports and complete a five-year, mid-point assessment. There will be a major review of the Strategy after 10 years.

To find out more:

Read the Implementation plan

Page last updated: 09/01/23