Sustainable water strategies are statutory processes for state-wide water resource planning in Victoria.

Each strategy focusses on one region of Victoria. They are used to manage threats to the supply and quality of water resources to protect environmental, economic, cultural and recreational values. Sustainable water strategies:

  • help entitlement holders manage their own risks
  • identify potential ways to improve waterway health.

Existing sustainable water strategies

There are four regional sustainable water strategies for Victoria:

  • Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy - 2006
  • Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy - 2009
  • Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy - 2011
  • Western Region Sustainable Water Strategy - 2011

The strategies identified threats to water availability in each region and proposed policies and actions to help water users, water corporations and catchment management authorities (CMAs) manage and respond to those threats over the next 50 years.

Actions status

Three hundred actions were identified across the four sustainable water strategies. Implementation of actions was largely the responsibility of DELWP, water corporations, catchment management authorities, DEDJTR and partners and stakeholders.

DELWP completed a stock take of all actions in 2016.  The actions status was further updated as part of the Central Region SWS review and the Western and Gippsland regions SWSs five-yearly assessments.

Of the 300 actions, nearly 82% are now complete. Of the remaining actions, many have been partly implemented, while others are to be implemented through other policies, particularly through the State’s Water Plan, Water for Victoria, or through implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Each SWS tab below has more information about an individual action's status.

Reviewing sustainable water strategies

The Water Act 1989 requires Sustainable Water Strategies to be reviewed at least every 10 years. Reviews provide an opportunity to identify if the timelines and targets of the Strategy have been met and ways to continue achievement of actions.

Water for Victoria provided the opportunity to complete five-yearly assessments of Sustainable Water Strategies. The five-yearly assessments help identify any key trends and issues to be taken up in any future review.

The review of the Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy started in 2016 and is now complete. The five-year assessments of the Western Region and Gippsland Region sustainable water strategies began in 2017 and are also complete. The review of the Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy is expected to start in late 2019.

Each SWS tab below provides more information about the review and assessments and links to download the recently released reports.

Next steps

The four regional sustainable water strategies are current and remain current until future strategies are developed in the regions. Annual monitoring and reporting on the implementation of  SWS actions will continue.

The findings of the first Long-Term Water Resource Assessment (LTWRA), currently underway and due for completion in mid-to-late 2019, will be important for shaping water resource management directions.

Water for Victoria proposes the review and potential development of a new SWS or SWSs could start in late 2019. A future SWS or SWSs incorporating the Central Region will be developed with an understanding of the LTWRA’s findings and the Central Region SWS review.

Following the five-yearly assessments’ recommendation, implementation plans will be developed for the Western and Gippsland region SWSs. Reviews of the Strategies are expected to start in 2021.

The review of the Northern Region's Sustainable Water Strategy is expected to start late 2019.

Page last updated: 12/03/19