The Gippsland region covers the area south of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria from the Latrobe River catchment and Strzelecki Ranges to the New South Wales border in the east.

The Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy includes policy statements and 69 actions for implementation at a regional and local scale.

Actions status

The actions status in the Gippsland Region was updated as part of the current five-yearly assessment. The assessment identifies that of the 68 actions in the Strategy, 23 actions are achieved and completed, 26 are achieved and ongoing, 7 are progressing through another plan and 12 are partly achieved or not yet achieved.

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Action

Comment

Action Status (five-yearly assessment 2018)

Delivery Period

3.1

Balanced approach to allocating new water entitlements in unregulated catchment areas

This action is to provide an approach to managing unallocated water on unregulated rivers and streams, which balances the needs of consumptive users and the environment. The Victorian winter-fill Sustainable Diversion Limits have been updated and are applied when assessing applications for new surface water licences and transfers.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

3.2

Strategic groundwater resource assessments

This ongoing action contributes to improving knowledge about groundwater resources and identifies opportunities for further water to be made available with consideration of other users and the environment. To improve water supply for consumptive users, the GRSWS suggests that additional allocations of water from some groundwater systems may be possible. The bioregional assessment process provided significant information about the region’s groundwater resources.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

3.3

Staged release of unallocated water

This action is to provide more water to meet the needs of consumptive users in an environmentally sensitive manner. The staged release of unallocated water has been planned to give consumptive users greater access to the water in a manner informed by a better understanding of the sustainable yield of the relevant water system. Unallocated water is to be released through auctions and tenders, so prices are based on the value of the resource. This occurs through the WaterBid platform, launched in 2015.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

3.4

Developing local management plans for unregulated surface water and groundwater systems

This action was to document existing management rules into local management plans. A LMP improves management by providing a more flexible way to clarify water sharing arrangements in most groundwater and unregulated surface water systems. Documentation in LMPs will improve transparency and provide greater certainty to users about the processes for reviewing and changing these rules over time. The GRSWS envisaged that LMPs would be prepared by documenting the existing water trading rules, carryover (where appropriate) and caps (where set) in a defined area. LMPs could then be reviewed or amended as required. LMPs were to be publicly available on water corporations’ websites. This action is considered achieved for a system when its existing rules are documented and published on the water corporation’s website, and many of the LMPs listed below are documentation of existing rules only. In May 2014, DELWP released guidelines for preparing LMPs. Under the guidelines, consultation is not required if the corporation considers the existing rules are sufficient and working effectively and has no immediate concern about reliability of supply, and proceeds to document the existing rules. Consultation is required if the water corporation decides to review and amend a LMP (such as if new information becomes available, concerns arise about the reliability of supply or the existing rules stop working effectively). LMPs were developed for all surface water systems listed in the GRSWS including for the Latrobe River, South Gippsland, East Gippsland (included in the Snowy River Basin), Tambo River, Mitchell River, Snowy River and Thomson River (included in the Avon River Basin LMP) basins. Groundwater catchment statements were developed for each groundwater catchment listed in the GRSWS, summarising the statutory management plans and local management plans within each catchment. LMPs are available at Southern Rural Water’s website under ‘Groundwater management rules and plans’. See actions 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 for actions relating to region-specific LMPs.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2010–16

3.5

Reviewing the process for declaring water supply protection areas and developing statutory management plans

This action was to review the process and establish opportunities for streamlining surface water and groundwater management plans to provide more efficient water management. Statutory management plans are administratively costly and can take more than two years to develop. In the meantime, local management plans have been the main way groundwater and unregulated surface water is managed. After a review of WSPA processes, amendments to the Water Act were proposed in the Water Bill 2014, but the Bill did not proceed through parliament. In line with WfV action 8.9, DELWP intends to streamline the process and will propose amendments to the Act at the next opportunity.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2012–13

3.6

Providing more security to section 51 take and use licence holders

Action linked to: WfV 8.2 Provide greater flexibility and choice for licence‑holders This action was to increase certainty for water users and the environment. The Water Bill 2014 proposed to extend section 51 take and use licences to 20 years, but it did not proceed through parliament. Investigating the merits of converting take and use licences (section 51 licences under the Water Act) in unregulated surface water and groundwater systems into water shares and other related products is being pursued through WfV action 8.2.

Being progressed through Water for Victoria

NA

3.7

Improving information-sharing about climate variability and risks

This ongoing action contributes to improving information-sharing about climate variability and risks. Research reports by the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative (SEACI) is available on its website. In 2013, DELWP, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO launched the Victorian Climate Initiative (VicCI); and its research, which covers climate change’s past impacts and projections for Victoria, is available on its website. In 2017, the Victorian Water and Climate Initiative was launched, which will look at past, current and future climate research. Communicating research results to the water sector is an important function of the initiative.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

3.8

Upgrading and refining the groundwater monitoring network

This action contributed to a revised and improved groundwater monitoring network. Groundwater in Victoria is monitored mainly through the State Observation Bore Network (SOBN). At the time of the publication of the GRSWS, groundwater monitoring infrastructure was inadequate in some areas. Who would fund the SOBN was also unclear, which put at risk the long-term maintenance and operation of the network. The SOBN was restructured soon after the GRSWS was published. The restructured SOBN is now a regional monitoring network with a clearly defined purpose for each site. The ageing monitoring infrastructure has been upgraded through a program of bore refurbishment works. Key stakeholders have been identified for each monitoring site, and the approach to future cost-sharing is to be negotiated.
Annual expenditure on maintaining and developing the SOBN is currently being reported.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2013–14

3.9

Establishing secure ongoing funding for future maintenance and renewal of the monitoring network

This ongoing action helps to ensure funding for maintaining and renewing Victoria’s monitoring network. A formal process was needed to determine an operating and maintenance program that shares costs on a beneficiary-pays basis. The forward works program is now submitted for consideration under routine budgetary processes. Costs are shared between DELWP (funded through the Environment Contribution Levy) and water corporations (funded through fees and charges approved through the Essential Services Commission’s pricing determination processes). For groundwater, monitoring costs are covered by a partnership of water corporations, CMAs and DELWP. For surface water monitoring, costs are covered by a partnership of water corporations, CMAs, local
governments, the Bureau of Meteorology and DELWP.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

3.10

Amend the Water Act 1989 so intensive management areas can be declared to control water intensive land use changes

Action linked to: WfV 8.4 Better record and report on emerging significant uses of water This action focused on amending the Water Act 1989 to enable the Minister for Water to declare and manage an area according to the process explained in the GRSWS. To better manage the impact of land use change on water resources, the GRSWS proposed a process to declare intensive management areas, based on the intensity of water stress, the significance of water-dependent values and the potential for land use changes to affect these values. Intensive management areas would have specific rules and management actions to ensure the integrity of high-value water systems are maintained. Amendments to the Act to declare intensive management areas were proposed in the Water Bill 2014, but the Bill did not proceed through parliament. WfV action 8.4 continues to recognise the importance of water-intensive land use changes and proposes an approach to gain better information about the impacts of changes in land use on water resources. This
work will inform the review of the GRSWS about the risks to water resources and whether action is required to mitigate them.

Being progressed through Water for Victoria

NA

3.11

Statewide recording of water use by land use changes

This action is to improve understanding about the impact of land use changes on water use and the capability to estimate and report on these interactions. New technologies (such as satellite imagery and remote-sensing) are improving our understanding of how
changes in land use affect water resources, and the importance of this understanding is increasingly recognised. In 2011–12, the National Water Commission funded the (then) Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) to prepare the groundwork to regularly estimate and report on water use by land use. This work included estimates of evapotranspiration, which is a key water use in vegetated landscapes. DSE contracted consultants to provide the tools and guidance to make evapotranspiration estimates, and they are now made annually using Victorian Land Use Information System land use data. However, water use estimates are only reported at a whole-of-basin scale, and they are not broken down by land use category or land use change. DELWP is now working to report water use by basin and land use category in future Victorian Water Accounts.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

3.12

Improving information about domestic and stock dams

Action linked to: WfV 8.4 Better record and report on emerging significant uses of water. This action was to improve knowledge of farm dams to enhance understanding of overall water harvesting within a catchment. The Water Bill 2014 proposed amendments to do this, but it did not proceed through parliament. Regulations requiring registration of new and modified farm dams in rural residential areas were revoked in 2017 after a review found they did not achieve their purpose and were an unreasonable burden on dam owners. WfV commits to recording and reporting on all emerging, significant uses of water including investigating a reasonable-use limit for domestic and stock rights under Section 8 of the Water Act. This should improve monitoring and reporting on the use of these rights and effects on other water users and the environment through the Victorian Water Accounts. WfV action 8.4 maintains this as a priority.

Being progressed through Water for Victoria

NA

3.13

Requiring property owners to register new domestic and stock bores

Action linked to: WfV 8.4 Better record and report on emerging significant uses of water. This action was to improve knowledge about the use of bores for stock and domestic purposes. The Water Bill 2014 proposed amendments to do this, but it did not proceed through parliament. WfV commits to improved monitoring and reporting on significant uses of water through the Victorian Water Accounts. WfV action 8.4 maintains this as a priority.

Being progressed through Water for Victoria

NA

3.14

Monitoring and tracking water use outside the entitlement framework

This ongoing action contributes to improving knowledge about unaccounted water use which will help to improve management of water use outside the entitlement framework. National Water Commission funding initiated the action. Although the NWC has been dismantled, the Victorian Water Accounts include estimates of water use by small catchment dams. Further, all domestic and stock bores require a construction licence and estimated use volumes are reported in the water accounts. WfV action 8.4 commits to recording and reporting on all emerging significant uses of water.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

3.15

Revising groundwater management units (GMUs)

The action was completed through DELWP’s Secure Allocations, Future Entitlements project. The groundwater catchments that were introduced after the project reflected connected groundwater resources and flow systems. All groundwater resources are within a groundwater catchment, allowing for amalgamation of management areas and for management to be documented for all groundwater resources. As knowledge improves, there will be further changes to management areas to reduce administration and costs and to support market development.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2012

3.16

Considering adverse impacts of existing oil and gas extractions

This action is to enable the Victorian Government to request updates to environmental plans for offshore oil and gas extraction, if that extraction has significant impacts onshore. To date, there have been no requests for review. There have also not been any new offshore extractions for oil and gas requiring specific management actions for the Latrobe aquifer or to address subsidence.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

3.17

Consistent groundwater licensing requirements for new quarries and mines

This action requires the Victorian Government to review the licensing requirements under the Water Act 1989 for mines and quarries and take steps to ensure they are applied consistently across Victoria. Amendments to achieve the action were proposed in the Water Bill 2014, but the Bill did not proceed through parliament. This issue will continue to be pursued as part of future amendments to the Water Act 1989.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

3.18

Understanding and monitoring the risk of coastal subsidence

This action facilitates improved understanding of coastal subsidence. A trial satellite radar interferometry (InSAR) study was successfully completed in 2012. An ongoing InSAR monitoring program based on the pilot study was developed, completing the action. The monitoring program as planned has not been implemented. Since the trial study, additional high-resolution light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data has been collected for Gippsland, and there is an ongoing program to collect this data. DELWP intends to review the
need for further monitoring and the best method for any ongoing subsidence monitoring program.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2014

3.19

Emerging technologies

This ongoing action assists in protecting the region’s groundwater resources. New technologies and industries that affect water resources and water users include geothermal energy and carbon capture and storage. DELWP and DEDJTR have studied the impacts of emerging technologies and industries through small-scale trials and regional studies of the likelihood and impacts of coal seam gas and shale gas development.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

3.20

Considering water impacts when undertaking planned burning and other bushfire control measures

This ongoing action contributes to greater recognition, knowledge and consideration of the impact that bushfire management actions have on water quality and quantity. Bushfires can reduce water quality, and since the GRSWS some strategic bushfire plans have considered water quality. The Integrated Forest Ecosystem Research Program also continues to study bushfire impacts on forested catchments including on water quality and quantity. When prioritising planned burns, planners consider wildfire risks to water
quality and quantity and how planned burns can reduce this risk.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.1

Promoting water conservation and efficiency

This ongoing action promotes proactive demand management by supporting water corporations to continue to pursue water conservation and efficiency measures at various levels. The Millennium Drought highlighted the importance of water conservation, water use efficiency and robust planning of water supply and demand. Many initiatives and processes have since been developed, either along with or as a result of the GRSWS, and the Victorian Government continues to support them. They include voluntary water efficiency programs across Victoria, sustainable irrigation programs and irrigation development rules at the CMA level, and water supply and demand planning for urban water corporations. Sufficient progress implementing the intent of this action has resulted in it being assessed as achieved. To ensure the intent of the action is retained, there are some components that are still ongoing (such as the development of reasonable domestic and domestic stock use guidelines.).

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.2

Improving opportunities for water trading in groundwater and unregulated river systems

Action linked to: WfV 9.7 Develop trading rules in other water systems This action was to support increased access to water by improving the ability to trade in groundwater and unregulated systems. The GRSWS helped put more information about water markets on the Victorian Water Register website, and Southern Rural Water established its WaterMatch website for buyers and sellers to contact each other. Updates to statutory management plans and the increased use of local management plans have improved the documentation of trading rules that reflect the areas to which they apply, but this has not always resulted in increased opportunities for trade. Water corporations have introduced intensity rules to reduce the cost of assessments for temporary and permanent transfers of groundwater licences. Take and use licensing policies were amended to permit temporary transfers for a period of up to five years in specified circumstances, which reduced administrative costs. DELWP reports annually on surface water trading and has released the Effectiveness of Victoria's Water Markets, the first statewide review of the effectiveness of Victoria’s water markets) and the first report on early trends in groundwater trade. The previous report identified that the main requirements for further development of groundwater markets are the need to set caps, allocation of available water, refinement of management area boundaries and education of licence holders. WfV action 9.7 maintains water trading in groundwater and unregulated systems as a priority by reviewing statewide unregulated surface water trading rules and developing policy to facilitate trade in groundwater systems.

Being progressed through Water for Victoria

NA

4.3

Harvesting high flows

Action linked to: WfV 8.3 Investigate increased flexibility for taking water under winter‑fill licences. This action was to help explore more-adaptive water-extraction options through the capture of high flows outside the winter-fill period. DELWP investigated the option of providing access to high flows (outside the winter-fill period) and although diversion opportunities would be highly unreliable, guidelines are proposed to permit high-flow extraction on a case-by-case basis. WfV action 8.3 maintains this as a priority.

Being progressed through Water for Victoria

NA

4.4

Streamlining the approval of section 67 licences to construct storages

This action is to provide guidance and clarity for section 67 storage construction licence applicants and assessing authorities. At the time the GRSWS was published, applicants for section 67 works licences had to undertake various investigations and environmental assessments, which were often burdensome. DELWP is currently progressing options for providing improved guidance to RWCs about the assessment required for licence applications and to improve the application process.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

4.5

Encouraging fit-for-purpose use of alternative water supplies

Action linked to: WfV 5.1 Use diverse water sources to protect public spaces. This action was to explore the use of fit-for-purpose alternative water supplies to provide benefits to communities and reduce demand on potable water supplies. Alternative water sources — mainly recycled water, stormwater and desalinated water — can improve amenity and alleviate pressures on stressed water systems. Shortly after the GRSWS was published, water supply-demand strategy guidelines to consider alternative water supply were published and such consideration continues to be a part of water corporations’ most recent water supply-demand strategies. Policies for the assessment and approval of local desalination systems and for brine disposal management were released in 2013. WfV action 5.1 maintains it as a priority, and stormwater allocation is being discussed across Victoria in integrated water management forums.

Being progressed through Water for Victoria

NA

4.6

Extending the reticulated supply network

This ongoing action contributes to cost-effectively increasing water reliability and reducing the risks to water reliability by dry conditions. Expanding the reticulated water supply network is a cost-effective way to improve water reliability for communities close to existing supply networks that do not yet have access to those networks. While there is not a consistent approach to managing the expansion of water supply systems, the intent of this action has been achieved, evidenced by the extensions to systems that have been proposed or approved (such as the Warragul-Moe water supply interconnect).

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.7

Promoting sustainable water management on dryland farms

This ongoing action contributes to promoting additional online resources for dryland farmers to manage water sustainably and mitigate climate risks. Historically, there has been less guidance for dryland farmers then for irrigators about efficient and sustainable water use. Since 2015, Agriculture Victoria has published guidance for farmers and will continue to do so.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.8

Updating water supply-demand strategies

This action contributed to effective and comprehensive water supply and demand planning to ensure the reliability of supply for urban and industrial users. The GRSWS articulates requirements to ensure urban water corporations’ water supply-demand strategies follow planning best practices. These requirements, which DELWP set out in WSDS guidelines, include exploring alternative water sources, making agreements about service levels that meet community expectations and completing annual water supply outlooks. Urban water corporations have developed water supply-demand strategies for their regions, consistent with DELWP’s 2011 WSDS guidelines. Urban water corporations continue to undertake strategic supply and demand planning. They revised their water supply-demand strategies as urban water strategies in 2017, as required by WfV.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2011–12

4.9

Review of the Victorian Uniform Drought Water Restriction Guidelines and permanent water saving rules

This action contributed to a better understanding of and more consistent guidance about Victorian water restrictions during drought and water scarcity. The Millennium Drought saw widespread water restrictions which had major consequences for Victorians. A review to better manage those impacts in the future was completed in 2011. The review’s main recommendations — simple permanent water savings rules, a revised set of four-stage water restrictions and a model water restriction by-law — have been implemented.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2011

4.10

Facilitating integrated water planning

This ongoing action encourages adaptive, innovative and productive water management as well as the use of alternative water sources (such as stormwater, desalinated water and recycled water). Integrating land use and water planning can improve the cost-effectiveness and adaptiveness of water resource management. Water supply-demand strategy guidelines issued in 2011 require water corporations to work with local governments to integrate their planning, and the provision of water services is included in
regional growth plans. The Gippsland Regional Growth Plan was published in May 2014. Integrated water management forums have been established in the GRSWS region.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.11

Identifying water-dependent sites of cultural importance

This ongoing action contributes to improved collaboration with Traditional Owners to identify water-dependent sites of cultural importance, to strengthen connection to Country. As part of the action, barriers to access were identified and steps taken to remove them. The West Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014-2022 and the East Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014-2022 establish the foundations to continue building on the action. The West Gippsland strategy lists priorities for Traditional Owners, including protecting cultural heritage. Traditional Owners were consulted as part of developing the waterway strategy. Given this progress, and the intent of the action being incorporated into the waterway strategies, this action is considered achieved, although there is still work to be done in identifying sites of cultural importance.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.12

Indigenous involvement in water management

This ongoing action provides the opportunity for increased Aboriginal involvement in water management through activities that support capacity building and participation. Traditional Owners have managed the state’s water resources for millennia but in post-settlement times lack of resources and expertise has disadvantaged their capacity to do so. The GRSWS details capacity building programs for young Aboriginal leaders through universities, water corporations, CMAs and DELWP. These programs occurred as planned, but Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal Victorians still need to be involved in the management of water resources, beyond their involvement in consultation processes, through partnerships and employment. Chapter 6 of WfV also addresses this issue.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.13

Better coordination of regional Indigenous reference groups

This ongoing action contributes to better coordination of regional Aboriginal reference groups. The two Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) in the Gippsland Region are the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLAWAC) and the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC). The RAPs are the primary point of contact for Traditional Owner involvement in water management: they are formally recognised and can speak for Traditional Owners in their declared areas. Chapter 6 of WfV encourages Traditional Owner involvement, which has helped increase engagement and participation. The RAPs work collaboratively with CMAs, DELWP and Parks Victoria. As such, this action is considered achieved.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.14

Using consumptive water en route

This ongoing action contributes to creating benefits for consumptive users, the environment and local communities through innovative water system planning. Releases of water for consumptive use can be timed to also provide benefits for the environment, recreational uses and others (so long as timing alterations do not disadvantage consumptive users). The VEWH annual seasonal watering plan addresses the use of consumptive water en route to provide environmental benefits. For example, water delivery in the Latrobe River from Blue Rock Reservoir to diverters and return flows from power companies improve environmental outcomes. This is further supported by the increasing focus on recreational values (achieving shared benefits) as outlined in Chapter 6 of WfV.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.15

Managing riparian land

Stock grazing and invasive weeds pose a continuous risk to riverine and riparian ecosystems. This ongoing action helps to protect waterway health and water quality by ensuring that riparian land is managed appropriately through activities such as fencing, revegetation, weed management and vegetation enhancement. Managing riparian land is a priority for CMAs, and specific management goals and targets in each region are set out in the regional waterway management strategies. To accelerate the implementation of riparian works, the state government launched the Regional Riparian Action Plan in 2015. The action has ensured continued Environmental Contribution funding for works on a large scale to ensure there is ongoing provision of cost-effective, off-stream, stock watering infrastructure.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.16

Changing environmental management objectives

This ongoing action promotes adaptive management by ensuring that a process is in place to alter environmental objectives in response to long-term changes in water availability. Climate change will most likely make Victoria drier, and adapting to the changed conditions will probably need severe actions. The 2013 Victorian Waterway Management Strategy includes a framework for assessing and changing management objectives in regional waterway strategies, which CMAs develop, and which will inform the
15-year long-term water resource assessment due in 2019.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

4.17

Develop Ministerial guidelines for groundwater dependent ecosystems

This action contributed to improved knowledge of groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) and their integrated management. The GRSWS acknowledged there was insufficient understanding of GDEs when it was published, and it recommended a risk-based approach to manage impacts on GDEs including monitoring and risk assessments when addressing licensing decisions. Ministerial guidelines for groundwater licensing and the protection of high-value, GDEs were published in 2015 and outline the approach licensing authorities should take to consider risks.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: April 2015

5.1

Local management plans for the main river systems in South Gippsland

This ongoing action contributes to operating arrangements for Gippsland’s surface water and groundwater systems, improving the transparency of their management. Existing operating arrangements were documented on the Southern Rural Water website and ministerial guidelines were released for new and to amend existing local management plans. See action 3.4 for more information about this action.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

5.2

Revised cap on the amount of unallocatedsurface water available for winter-fill (July toOctober) diversions in South Gippsland’s catchments

This action is to revise the caps on the amount of unallocated surface water available for winter-fill diversions in South Gippsland’s catchments. The winter-fill sustainable diversion limits were amended to account for reduced volumes of additional available water. Rural water corporations are managing the revised SDLs. The PCV Surface Water Order 2010 will be updated to reflect these changes. The amount of water available for new entitlements in South Gippsland’s catchments is to be reviewed as part of the
GRSWS review process.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

5.3

Water supply-demand strategy — South Gippsland Water

This action contributed to effective and comprehensive water supply and demand planning to ensure the reliability of supply for urban and industrial users. South Gippsland Water developed a water supply-demand strategy in December 2011 and updated it in April 2017 as the South Gippsland Water Urban Water Strategy, in line with the WfV requirement for Victoria’s urban water corporations to develop urban water strategies, which provide detailed, 50-year forecasts of demand, and supply options. Urban water strategies are to be based on the government’s climate guidelines, which set out essential data and advice about how to assess the impact of climate change on water supplies. The strategy is one of several South Gippsland Water long-term plans: others address drought response, financial expenditure, asset management, water quality and wastewater. The main change in the updated strategy reflects the connection of several of South Gippsland Water’s supply systems to the Melbourne supply system, which reduces the region’s future supply risk from population growth, climate change and land use changes.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2011, 2017

5.4

Protecting and improving the condition of South Gippsland inlets and estuaries through a continued focus on catchment management

This ongoing action contributes to the protection and improvements to the condition of South Gippsland’s inlets and estuaries. There are wetlands in these inlets and estuaries which are listed as of national importance, including the Corner Inlet Ramsar wetland. Part D of the West Gippsland Regional Waterway Strategy details the works program to protect these inlets and estuaries, and the part includes the Corner Inlet Ramsar Site Management Plan. The Corner Inlet Water Quality Improvement Plan 2013 also provides direction for protection of and improvements at the inlet. The West Gippsland CMA works with project partners to implement priority actions in both plans, with state and federal funding, and it reports progress on the works it undertakes each year in its biannual project progress report. The CMA has also worked with the EPA and DELWP to include load targets consistent with the water-quality improvement plan in the draft revised SEPP.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

6.1

Local management plans for unregulated river systems

This ongoing action helps to formalise the operating arrangements for Gippsland’s surface water systems, improving the transparency of their management. The ‘Rivers and creeks management rules and plans’ drop-down on the Southern Rural Water website has the operating arrangements for the Gippsland Lakes catchments: the Thomson, Latrobe, Mitchell and Tambo river basins. Ministerial guidelines were released for new and to amend existing local management plans. See action 3.4 for more information about this action.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

6.2

Revised cap on the amount of unallocated surface water available for winter-fill (July to October) diversions in the Mitchell and Tambo catchments

This action is to revise the caps on the amount of unallocated surface water available for winter-fill diversions in the Mitchell and Tambo catchments. The winter-fill sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) were amended to account for reduced volumes of additional available water. Rural water corporations are managing to the revised SDLs. The PCV Surface Water Order 2010 will be updated to reflect these changes. The amount of water available for new entitlements in the Mitchell and Tambo catchments is to be reviewed as part of the GRSWS review process.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

6.3

Establishing a drought reserve in Blue Rock Reservoir

This action contributed to the establishment of a drought reserve in Blue Rock Reservoir, meaning more water will be available for entitlement holders in the Latrobe system. The drought reserve was established through the Bulk Entitlement (Latrobe Reserve) Order 2013. Southern Rural Water holds the entitlement, and it calculates how much water is available in the drought reserve each month and offer it to Latrobe system entitlement holders. Southern Rural Water has a fact sheet explaining how it works.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: July 2013

6.4

Improved recreational opportunities on Lake Narracan

This action helped to improve recreational opportunities on Lake Narracan. Southern Rural Water manages water releases from Blue Rock Reservoir to Lake Narracan for the local power stations. The action arranged to keep enough water in the lake for major water skiing events between December and April, subject to conditions agreed with the Latrobe Council and Latrobe Valley Water Ski Club. The arrangement is included in the Latrobe System Storage Management Rules.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: -

6.5

Establishing operating arrangements to improve recreation opportunities on Lake Narracan

This action contributed to the revision of the operating arrangements for Lake Narracan. Southern Rural Water revised storage management rules to specify how it will operate Lake Narracan to maintain water levels for water skiing (as explained above). The rules also specify how bulk entitlement holders will be compensated for any water losses incurred as a result of the action.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: -

6.6

Water supply-demand strategy — Gippsland Water

This action contributed to effective and comprehensive water supply and demand planning to ensure the reliability of supply for urban and industrial users. Gippsland Water developed a water supply-demand strategy in April 2012. WfV now requires Victoria’s urban water corporations to develop urban water strategies, which provide detailed, 50-year forecasts of demand, and supply options. Urban water strategies are to be based on the government’s climate guidelines, which set out essential data and advice about how to assess the impact of climate change on water supplies. Gippsland Water revised its water supply-demand strategy as an urban water strategy in 2017. Gippsland Water publishes an annual water outlook in December each year, to tell its customers the current status of its systems, how they compare to the long-term trends forecast in the urban water strategy, the climate outlook and the likelihood of water restrictions in each system.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2012, 2017

6.7

Additional access to water in Blue Rock Reservoir for urban use

This action contributed to greater access to water for urban use. An additional permanent 3.87% inflow and storage capacity share (corresponding to a long-term average of 3 GL/year) from Blue Rock Reservoir was made available for purchase by Gippsland Water to meet its immediate demand growth needs. In 2014, Gippsland Water’s Blue Rock bulk entitlement was amended to increase Gippsland Water’s share of Blue Rock by 3.87% to 16.27%. This was later increased to 17.08% to reflect the change in the recorded storage volume of the reservoir, due to silt.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: July 2013

6.8

Open-cut coal mine closure and restoration strategies

The action has been completed as per the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry: Implementation of recommendations and affirmations (Annual Report 2017). Open-cut coal mine closure and restoration strategies advanced greatly, driven by the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report 2015/16 Volume IV – Mine Rehabilitation. DEDJTR is working with DELWP to prepare The Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy, which supports this action.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: December 2016

6.9

Water supply-demand strategy — East Gippsland Water

This action contributed to effective and comprehensive water supply and demand planning to ensure the reliability of supply for urban and industrial users. East Gippsland Water developed water supply-demand strategies in 2010 and 2011 for each of its nine water supply systems. WfV now requires Victoria’s urban water corporations to develop urban water strategies, which provide detailed, 50-year forecasts of demand, and supply options. Urban water strategies are to be based on the government’s climate guidelines, which set out essential data and advice about how to assess the impact of climate change on water supplies. East Gippsland Water subsequently developed one urban water strategy for all systems in 2017. East Gippsland Water publishes an annual water outlook in December each year, to tell its customers the current status of its systems, how they compare to the long-term trends forecast in the urban water strategy, the climate outlook and the likelihood of water restrictions in each system.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2010, 2011, 2017

6.10

Opportunity for additional access to water in Blue Rock Reservoir for irrigators

This action was to make additional entitlement available for irrigators in the regulated Latrobe system, supplied by an additional 1% (about 800 ML) share of Blue Rock Reservoir, but it has not yet been achieved. Southern Rural Water and DELWP are continuing to work to achieve the action.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

6.11

Sharing of industrial water returns along the lower Latrobe River

The action improved the reliability of supply to Latrobe River irrigators, as Southern Rural Water amended the rules to confirm that return flows to the river from power stations and industrial water users would continue to be shared 50:50 between the environment and irrigators. This arrangement helps irrigators in dry periods, and it also provides additional water for the environment.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: July 2013

6.12

Development of a business case for the MID 2030 project

This action helped Southern Rural Water seek a government contribution for the MID 2030 project. In May 2013, the Victorian Government committed to provide $16 million for Phase 1A of the MID 2030 Project, a project to modernise a section of the Macalister Irrigation District. An equal co-contribution was made by MID customers through SRW. The government made a further $20 million contribution in the 2016-17 State Budget towards MID Phase 1B, along with contributions from SRW and the Commonwealth Government.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2011

6.13

Promoting sustainable irrigation

This ongoing action helps to promote sustainable irrigation in the Gippsland Lakes catchments. DELWP, Agriculture Victoria and CMAs are delivering the Sustainable Irrigation Program with funding from the Environmental Contribution Levy, Tranche 4, of $59.5 million over 4 years. The program provides incentives to irrigators to implement whole-farm planning and to implement efficient water use measures. The focus in the region is on reducing nitrogen and phosphorus on farms. The Sustainable Irrigation Program Biennial Report 2013-15 notes that the 2015 review of the Victorian Irrigation Drainage Program found the program had successfully mitigated the most severe waterlogging, salinity, water quality and drainage risks in Victoria’s landscapes. The Victorian Government’s Gippsland Lakes Rescue Package is funding activities to improve water quality in the Gippsland Lakes. The Gippsland Lakes and Catchment Task Force was established in 2001 and it developed the Gippsland Lakes Future Directions and Actions Plan, and $6 million was invested in phase 3 activities under the plan from 2006–07 to 2008–09. West Gippsland CMA is reviewing the Macalister Land and Water Management Plan, after which the plan will be replaced by the Lake Wellington Land and Water Management Plan. Under the action, the Gippsland Irrigation Development Guidelines were prepared. Having established the frameworks for sustainable irrigation, they are to be applied consistently to ensure the objectives are achieved in the long term. This in an area for ongoing focus to ensure that plans are developed consistently with the guidance, and that triggers in plans are applied or any variations from them are clearly documented.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

6.14

Thorpdale – opportunity to purchase additional entitlement in cases where storage capacity exceeds the annual extraction limit

This action provided irrigators with the opportunity to purchase additional entitlement, if storage capacity
exceeded the annual extraction limit. Under the action, eight applications to purchase additional
entitlement were approved, for a total 131.8 ML.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: June 2015

6.15

Additional 10 GL environmental share for the Latrobe River system

This action contributed to the establishment of a new environmental entitlement which provides a long-term average of 10 GL/year for the environment in the Latrobe River system. The Blue Rock Environmental Entitlement 2013 provides a 9.45% inflow and storage capacity share of Blue Rock Reservoir. This entitlement has been used to provide environmental benefits in the lower Tanjil River, in the Latrobe River downstream of the junction with the Tanjil River and in the fringing wetlands along the lower Latrobe River near Lake Wellington.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: July 2013

6.16

Managing the new environmental entitlement for the Latrobe River

This ongoing action contributes to establishing the processes for managing the environmental entitlement for the Latrobe River. The VEWH’s annual seasonal watering plan, which addresses use of the entitlement under a range of possible seasonal climactic scenarios to mitigate risks to the river, is based on West Gippsland CMA’s seasonal watering proposal. DEDJTR is preparing a Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy, which will involve extensive water, geotechnic and environmental studies (including ongoing monitoring) as part of preparing and implementing it. As part of preparing the strategy, the West Gippsland CMA are working with DELWP and the VEWH on the regional water study, which includes an updated flows study to inform future environmental flows in the system.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

6.17

Maximising environmental benefits from investments made to manage the environmental impacts of coalmining on the Latrobe tributaries

This action intends to maximise environmental benefits from investments made to manage the environmental impacts of coalmining on the Latrobe tributaries. The lower reaches of the Morwell River, a tributary of the Latrobe River, and other waterways near the Latrobe Valley coal mines had been highly modified as a result of their proximity to the coal mines. There have been no diversions of the Latrobe tributaries since the GRSWS was published. With recent works on mine closure planning, it is unclear if there will be any further action.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

6.18

Additional 8 GL environmental share for the Thomson River

This action contributed to the provision of additional water for the environment in the Thomson River through a new 3.9% inflow and 8 GL storage capacity share in the Bulk Entitlement (Thomson River – Environment) Order 2005, equivalent to a long-term average of 8 GL/year. The action was in line with a previous government commitment. The additional water enables delivery of more of the high-priority watering actions in the seasonal watering plans for the Thomson River.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: May 2017

6.19

More flexible environmental releases from the Thomson Reservoir

This action helped to allow passing-flow water-sharing rules to be more flexible. Passing flow requirements were amended in 2013 via the Bulk Entitlement (Thomson River - Environment) Amendment Order 2013. Although the work to allow this occurred over many years, the first trial was in July 2017. The accrual of this water allowed the delivery of higher-priority water actions at other times during the year.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: May 2013

6.20

Managing the Gippsland Lakes

This ongoing action contributes to the management and protection of the Gippsland Lakes. The Victorian Government has continued to invest in CMAs, which utilise these funds for ongoing catchment management works. These works are typically guided by the CMAs regional catchment strategies and waterway strategies, and by Ramsar site management plans. These strategies and plans set out frameworks for managing land, water and biodiversity programs. They also identify works needed to protect, restore or enhance natural resources in the medium and longer terms. The Lower Latrobe Wetlands are managed by West Gippsland CMA and other partners, who undertake on-ground actions and provide advice to VEWH about environmental watering through the Lower Latrobe
Wetlands Environmental Entitlement 2010. The Thomson, Macalister and Latrobe rivers also have environmental entitlements managed by the VEWH, that provide flow-on benefits to the Gippsland Lakes. The East Gippsland CMA is the Ramsar site coordinator, and in 2016, they published the Gippsland Lakes Ramsar Site Management Plan. Hydrological data for basins feeding into the Gippsland Lakes are reported annually in the Victorian Water Accounts. DELWP monitors the environmental outcomes (such as fish spawning) of environmental watering in the Thomson River through the VEFMAP program, and it also monitors blue-green algae conditions in the lakes. The VEWH monitors some hydrological and ecological conditions. Other agencies also conduct monitoring, some of which is funded by the VEWH (such as monitoring of water quality and water level in Heart and Dowd Morass, the Latrobe River and Lake Wellington) and DELWP. The Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee fosters collaboration between agency and community
stakeholders to better coordinate the environmental management of the Gippsland Lakes. The committee was allocated $12.5 million over the 2015–16 to 2019–20 period through the Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund. The funding was allocated to implement the Gippsland Lakes Priorities Plan and the Gippsland Lakes Ramsar Site Management Plan. The 2014 Mitchell River Basin LMP describes allocations and the number of licences for the Mitchell, Tambo and Nicholson catchments, and it identifies 6 GL of new winter-fill water entitlements.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

6.21

Providing water to the fringing wetlands of the lower Latrobe River

This ongoing action contributes to improving the health of the lower Latrobe wetlands and estuary. The Lower Latrobe Wetlands Environmental Entitlement 2010 was established, and it provides for water to be diverted from the Latrobe River to inundate floodplain wetlands. The West Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014-2022 aims to improve the condition of the Lower Latrobe wetlands through a program of environmental watering, weed control and rehabilitation of remnant riparian and floodplain vegetation. The VEWH’s annual seasonal watering plans provide the ongoing direction to complete this action. The Victorian Government has funded WGCMA to undertake work to inform the watering plan for the wetlands and to design and cost wetland watering infrastructure. The environmental water requirements of the Latrobe estuary were investigated in 2013 and the flow, level and salinity effects of inflows to the Latrobe estuary monitored since 2017. A risk assessment for Dowd Morass is being conducted of short- and medium-term implications of sea level rise for this wetland and its management. To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of environmental watering in the wetlands, Sale Common’s regulator was upgraded in 2012, while a regulator in the Heart Morass was upgraded in 2018. Earthworks were also undertaken in 2015 to facilitate water inflows from Flooding Creek to Heart Morass.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

7.1

Local management plans for the main river systems in Far East Gippsland

This action helped to formalise the operating arrangements for far East Gippsland’s surface water and groundwater systems, improving the transparency of their management. The ‘Rivers and creeks management rules and plans’ drop-down on the Southern Rural Water website has the operating arrangements for the East Gippsland Basin (including the Snowy River Basin). Ministerial guidelines were released for new and to amend existing local management plans. See action 3.4 for more information about this action.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2010–16

7.2

Revised cap on the amount of unallocated surface water available for winter-fill (July toOctober) diversions in Far East Gippsland’s catchments

This action is to revise the caps on the amount of unallocated surface water available for winter-fill (July– October) diversions in the far East Gippsland catchments. The winter-fill sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) were amended to account for reduced volumes of additional available water. Rural water corporations are managing to the revised SDLs. The PCV Surface Water Order 2010 will be updated to reflect these changes.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

7.3

Water supply-demand strategy — East Gippsland Water

This action contributed to effective and comprehensive water supply and demand planning to ensure the reliability of supply for urban and industrial users. East Gippsland Water published nine water supply-demand strategies in 2010 and 2011, one for each of its nine water supply systems. WfV now requires Victoria’s urban water corporations to develop urban water strategies, which provide detailed, 50-year forecasts of demand, and supply options. Urban water strategies are to be based on the government’s climate guidelines, which set out essential data and advice about how to assess the impact of climate change on water supplies. In 2017, East Gippsland Water revised its water supply-demand strategies as the East Gippsland Water Urban Water Strategy, which is one document for all nine systems. East Gippsland Water publishes an annual water outlook in December each year, to tell its customers the current status of its systems, how they compare to the long-term trends forecast in the urban water strategy, the climate outlook and the likelihood of water restrictions in each system.

Achieved and completed

Achieved: 2010, 2011, 2017

7.4

Protecting Far East Gippsland’s high-value rivers through a continued focus on catchment management

This ongoing action helps to protect and improve the health of far East Gippsland’s high-value rivers through a continued focus on catchment management. The East Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014-2022
details planned works and their objectives, and the East Gippsland Regional Catchment Strategy 2013–2019 provides additional detail, setting out priorities for the region for the six-year period.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

7.5

Greater transparency in environmental water accounts and reporting for the Snowy River

This ongoing action enhances transparency in environmental water accounts and in reporting for the Snowy River. The Victorian Water Accounts detail allocation volumes and allocation percentages for the Snowy River catchment entitlements. The VEWH reports annually on the Snowy River entitlements it holds and water made available each year. The Victorian Water Register has a user-friendly layout and search function to examine records of trade and entitlements for all catchments throughout the state.

Achieved and ongoing

Ongoing

7.6

Environmental flows for the Victorian reaches of the Snowy River, estuary and wetlands

This action is to negotiate an environmental flow regime that benefits the Victorian reaches of the Snowy River, estuary and wetlands. The NSW Department of Industry is responsible for planning environmental flow releases in the Snowy River, and it consults East Gippsland CMA and the Victorian and Australian governments about the releases. This action specified that the VEWH and East Gippsland CMA would inform the Snowy Scientific Committee about the effects of environmental flow releases in Victoria, but the committee was disbanded. In July 2018, the NSW Minister for Regional Water appointed the Snowy Advisory Committee to provide expert and community input to the design of environmental flows to the Snowy River and Snowy Mountain rivers. The committee brings together the local knowledge and expertise of people from Snowy River and Snowy Mountains communities and the NSW and Victorian governments. Also, East Gippsland CMA continues to evaluate the effects of flow releases on the lower river and estuary, to better understand the riverine system.

Partly or not yet achieved

NA

Five-yearly assessment

The five-yearly assessment of the Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy (2011) was conducted in collaboration with key stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of the Strategy. The assessment updates catchment inflow data, determines the status of each action, consolidates feedback about the process for development and implementation of the strategy and makes recommendations to support the review of the SWS.

Page last updated: 24/10/2018