Lake Eildon is primarily a water storage for users on the Goulburn and is the only inland waterway in Victoria that allows houseboats. It’s one of our most popular holiday destinations with approximately 700 licenced houseboats operating on the lake.

We need to continue to protect water quality at Lake Eildon so that everyone can continue to benefit from what it has to offer.

Current regulations, reviews and reforms

Houseboat operations on the lake are managed by Goulburn Murray Water under the Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013.

Following concerns from the community we initiated an independent review in 2016-17 by the Jacobs Group - a specialty consulting firm - to review current regulations. The 8-month review involved:

  • Extensive consultation with the Lake Eildon houseboat community;
  • In-depth discussions with government agency representatives; and
  • Assessment of more than 100 public submissions.

The Jacobs' report indicated that there are serious issues with the reliability and performance of existing greywater treatment systems, and there is a distinct lack of confidence in these systems, particularly with respect to noise, odour and cost of installation.

Repeal of greywater treatment system requirement

Due to the ongoing issues with the systems, it was determined that they would not ultimately achieve the aim of the regulations. As a result, the Andrews Labor Government has removed the requirement for houseboat owners to install greywater treatment systems on all houseboats.

From 18 October 2017:

  • Houseboats are not required to have a greywater treatment system installed by 1 July 2020.
  • The pre-sale requirement no longer applies: houseboats don’t need to have a greywater treatment system installed before a licence for the houseboat can be transferred to a new owner.

Technical investigations

Until reliability and installation issues can be eliminated we will not ask houseboat owners to install these systems at such considerable cost.

We’re committed to improving the health of Lake Eildon and will continue to work with houseboat owners and manufacturers to explore options for increased usage of simpler, cheaper, alternative greywater systems to improve water quality in Lake Eildon in the future:

  1. We have commissioned a technical investigation into alternative greywater systems for potential future use on Lake Eildon houseboats. The investigation will be conducted between May to June 2018 by the Jacobs Group.
  2. A separate, complimentary investigation will focus on alternative houseboat greywater system technology and design options. It will take place between April to August 2018 and be conducted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Water: Effective Technologies and Tools Research Centre.
  3. Both investigations will invite input from the Lake Eildon houseboat community.
  4. Once the investigations are complete, we will explore options to realign greywater system approval processes with a well-established, reputable national accreditation process.

Support for local greywater treatment system manufacturers and houseboat owners who have installed a greywater treatment system

To assist the manufacturers that have supplied and installed greywater treatment systems on Lake Eildon houseboats, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is providing support to the affected manufacturers so they can:

  • Engage individual consultants to undertake an adaptability and continuity review of their specific business; and
  • Access a business mentoring service that will complement the business review.

Until new regulations are made, Goulburn Murray Water, in collaboration with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will provide a $100 annual discount on houseboat licence fees for houseboat owners that have a unit installed.

More information

Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013 (PDF, 193.1 KB)
Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013 (DOCX, 75.6 KB)