The Strategy will empower landholders to work together to drive the agricultural sector’s contribution to the Victorian economy and positive cultural and environmental impacts of rural drainage.

Rural drainage is the collection and removal of water generated from local rainfall runoff from rural land prone to natural waterlogging. It involves the enhancement of the hydraulic capacity of drainage lines and soils, increasing the rate at which water will flow off (or through) and away from land, to support increasing agricultural production.

In the last two decades significant changes have occurred in the institutional arrangements and legislation (repeal of drainage acts and creation of the Water Act and Local Government Act), leading to a lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities for rural dryland drainage. These effects were compounded by the Millennium Drought resulting in a lack of maintenance and attention on rural drainage in dryland areas.

Many of the rural drainage areas across Victoria now lack clear management and funding arrangement, and are in a state of disrepair. Poor management of these schemes may adversely impact on the profitability of farmland, as well as environmental and cultural values.

The history and management arrangements of rural drainage in Victoria is explored in depth in the Environment and Natural Resources enquiry into rural drainage report

Following waterway health, irrigation and floodplain management, rural drainage is the final water sector to be reformed in Victoria. Opportunity now exists to modernise and improve management of drainage in Victoria where viable, leading to positive economic social and environmental outcomes.

If you would like more information on the context of rural drainage in Victoria, contact the Rural Drainage Team on vrds.enquiry@delwp.vic.gov.au, or phone the Project Manager on (03) 9637 8515.

What is happening in dryland rural drainage in Victoria?

Water for Victoria commits to working with local government; catchment management authorities; the Victorian Farmers Federation; coastal and catchment councils and the community to develop a rural drainage strategy for Victoria.

Development of the Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy is now underway. It will set the policy and clarify management arrangements for rural drainage in dryland areas in Victoria. The strategy will support a sustainable and productive dryland agricultural sector.

Landholders will be empowered to work together to drive the agricultural sector’s contribution to the Victorian economy and positive cultural and environmental impacts of rural drainage.

Developing a rural drainage strategy for Victoria

The strategy is the first state-wide rural drainage strategy under development in Australia. It will be developed working closely with key stakeholders, through an open and consultative process by the end of 2017.

The strategy will provide clarity and remove complexity for landholders in managing rural drainage and support positive cultural and environmental impacts of drainage. It will do this by:

  • Supporting landholders to consider the costs and benefits of rural drainage;
  • Clarifying, and considering opportunities to streamline, environmental and cultural approvals for drainage;
  • Ensure protection or enhancement of environmental and cultural values, such as considering opportunities for voluntary reinstatement of wetlands;
  • Build capability of regional agencies, and the community to support rural drainage.

A draft Strategy is due to be released in the first half of 2017. There will be opportunities for the community to comment on the draft Strategy.

What does this mean for me?

Current Projects

Woady Yallock and Loch Culvert Drainage area

The Corangamite Catchment  Management Authority  manages the Woady Yallock and Loch Culvert Drainage scheme. It will be working closely with landholders to consider improved management options for the Drainage area.