Victoria's state-owned water sector is made up of 19 water corporations constituted under the Water Act 1989.
A number these water corporations also manage bulk water storages and designated recreational areas, and help the minister operate the Victorian Water Register
Victoria's water corporation boards play an important role in overseeing the management of our water services.
The Victorian Government has reviewed and refreshed the boards to ensure they are best placed to deal with the challenges posed by changing rainfall patterns, climate change and rapid population growth. The new appointments start on 1 October, 2017.
Sixteen water corporations provide water supply (including recycled water) and sewage and trade waste disposal services to urban customers throughout Victoria.
In regional Victoria these are:
- Barwon Water
- Central Highlands Water
- Coliban Water
- East Gippsland Water
- Gippsland Water
- Goulburn Valley Water
- Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water
- Lower Murray Water
- North East Water
- South Gippsland Water
- Wannon Water
- Westernport Water
- Western Water
In Melbourne these are:
Four of the water corporations provide rural water services, which comprise water supply, drainage, and salinity mitigation services for irrigation and domestic and stock purposes.
Southern Rural Water, Goulburn-Murray Water and Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water also provide bulk water supply services to other water corporations in regional Victoria.
Melbourne Water Corporation provides bulk water and bulk sewerage services to water corporations in the Melbourne metropolitan area and manages rivers, creeks and major drainage systems in the Melbourne, Port Phillip and Westernport regions. It also supplies recycled water, through a number of retail water corporations, for irrigation and other purposes.
Under s. 4l of the Water Industry Act 1994, the Minister for Water may make and issue statements of obligations to water corporations.
These statements specify the obligations of Victoria's water corporations in relation to the performance of their functions and the exercise of their powers.
Statement of Obligations (General)
This statement sets out a broad range of obligations and guiding principles applicable to all water corporations. It revokes and replaces all previous statements of obligations made and issued to a water corporation under s. 4Iof the Water Industry Act 1994, with the exception of the Statement of Obligations (System Management) issued by the Minister for Water on 16 January 2015.
Statements of obligations (System Management)
This statement sets out roles and responsibilities in managing the augmented Melbourne water supply system. It applies to City West Water Corporation, Melbourne Water Corporation, South East Water Corporation and Yarra Valley Water Corporation.
Metropolitan retailers and Melbourne Water Corporation Statement of Obligations (System Management)
Through the Statement of Obligations, water corporations are required to develop Urban Water Strategies in accordance with the Urban Water Strategy Guidelines . These strategies include plans for securing water supplies over the following 50 years given uncertainty with population growth, climate change and climate variability.
These strategies are to be consistent with Water for Victoria. The aim of Urban Water Strategies is to support the development of resilient and liveable communities as well as balancing social, environmental and economic costs and benefits across the environment, agriculture, towns and businesses.
The objectives of Urban Water Strategies are to:
- Identify key climate change adaptation to ensure secure water and sewerage services; and
- Encourage sustainable use of water resources, including rainwater, stormwater and recycled water in a fit-for-purpose way.
The Annual Water Outlook for Victoria provides information about the state's water supplies, expected climatic conditions and contingency plans to cope with any supply shortages should they arise. Each year on 1 December water corporations publish an outlook report on the current condition of each water supply system, including storage positions and predicted future water availability, and outline strategies to meet customer demand over the next 12 months.
The Annual Water Outlook for Victoria brings this information together and provides a range of scenarios that can be expected if conditions remain dry. The highly variable nature of Victoria's climate, dry, drought and worst case scenario climate modelling is used to identify potential issues for water security.
Drought Preparedness Plans are prepared as part of an Urban Water Strategy and set out the actions that will be needed to prepare for and respond to water shortages if they arise in the immediate to short‐term.
A Drought Preparedness Plan describes how a water corporation will prepare for and manage its systems during:
- an extreme dry period; and / or
- a water quality event.