Connection to nature is important for our health and wellbeing and the social fabric of communities. Our lakes and rivers create activities for local people to enjoy and attract visitors and tourists, generating income and jobs for communities. By recognising these values we are supporting our rural and regional communities.
Victoria is facing a future that will be hotter and drier. Our investments now will ensure Victorians can continue to enjoy the recreational values that water provides whatever the future holds.
Listening to community recreational objectives
Water corporations and CMAs are undertaking community engagement to incorporate different perspectives in water and waterway planning, including with recreational users. We have strengthened this existing community engagement around water management by establishing targeted advisory groups for key recreational sites such as Lake Eppalock and Dartmouth Pondage (Lake Banimboola).
At Lake Eppalock, the City of Greater Bendigo and Goulburn Murray Water have worked together to improve external signage, install solar lighting for boat users and upgrade visitor access and facilities at the Kimbolton recreation area. Additionally further work will take place at Kimbolton Foreshore to improve the recreational facilities including replacement of the public toilet block, new picnic facilities, signage and landscaping.
Exploration of opportunities to enhance recreational fishing and boating at Lake Eppalock is also underway . As a direct result of the collaboration between community and government, almost $600,000 is now committed in funding to these projects.
We also heard community perspectives through DELWP’s ‘Our Say’ forum. We heard your ideas on three drought-funded recreational water projects at Donald, Taylors Lake and Green Lake at Sea Lake. With the enthusiastic involvement of local communities these projects are now well underway: Donald Weir Pool is now connected to the water supply, the Green Lake remediation business case is complete while works at Taylors Lake will be complete in 2018.
User groups and local communities have told us they want to be better informed about how water is managed and what recreational opportunities are available to them. We have completed market research to clarify what the community needs from us and how we should deliver that information to maximise recreational enjoyment in Victoria’s waterways.
The Lake Eildon houseboat community provided us with an opportunity to listen and respond to ideas about how to improve regulatory requirements for responsible greywater discharge or disposal on Lake Eildon. In October 2017, new proposed houseboat regulation reforms were announced that will remove requirements for mandatory installation of greywater treatment systems on houseboats whilst a better framework for greywater management is developed. These reforms will focus on developing a way forward that maintains public health, supports recreational activities and protects the water quality of Lake Eildon.
Delivering recreational outcomes
Water corporations, CMAs and the VEWH are our delivery partners for managing water storages, rivers and wetlands in a way that supports recreational activities. We are making sure they are clear on what is expected of them and are providing support to help them get there. This work has had the following results:
- Southern Rural Water have invested in a new walking track and additional boating facilities to support fishing at Blue Rock.
- Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water (GWMWater) is continuing their work with the community to supply recreational water to priority lakes like Brim Weir pool and Walkers Lake.
- our partners are collaborating on initiatives to understand recreational values and prioritise them in planning decisions. For example GWMWater, the Wimmera CMA and the VEWH provided support for a socio-economic study of the value of recreational water use in the Wimmera region.
- GWMWater has put shared benefits into action at Toolondo by providing water supply after trigger levels at Rocklands Reservoir were met.
- Lower Murray Water is collaborating with other government and community groups to make sure the recreational water uses that encourage vital tourism to the region are considered in planning. A great example is the new river laneway installed at Kings Billabong.
- urban water corporations are exploring how they can support recreational values.
Donald Weir Pool
The Victorian Government announced $170,000 for the Donald Weir Pool project in 2016. The project involved building
infrastructure to supply water to the weir pool and completing works on the weir to ensure it has the structural integrity to hold water for years to come.
The weir has been upgraded and is now connected to a water supply with water flowing back into the Donald Weir Pool. A 400-metre pipeline was installed to link the Wimmera Mallee pipeline to an existing 1,000 metre stormwater pipeline which in turn delivers water into the pool.
The project was a key part of the $10 million Drought Support Fund announced early last year as part of the Victorian Government’s $27 million Drought Response Package. It built on the significant existing work undertaken by the local community.
Image courtesy Luke Pitman.
We will be focusing on on-ground outcomes at key sites by progressing priority projects at Lake Eppalock and developing a way forward to achieve access for recreational fishing at Dartmouth pondage.
Drought projects at Green Lake and Taylors Lake will be another priority. We will be working closely with GWMWater to finalise the current plans for the lakes.
The insights from the market research we completed in 2017 are helping us create easier to understand water information for recreational users. We will be publishing updated information online, through social media and via other channels identified by our users as appropriate.
We will be supporting the water sector to continuously improve the way they work with recreational users and local communities to achieve recreational outcomes.