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Progress reports on the Victorian Waterway Management Program

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Actions (DEECA) and Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) produce progress reports for the Victorian Waterway Management Program to meet the needs of various stakeholders. This helps ensure strong financial accountability and ensures agreed performance targets are met.

Melbourne Water has different reporting and evaluation requirements than the other CMA waterway managers, which reflect their separate accountability to the Essential Services Commission.

Delivery and achievements of these regional waterway management programs are reported through a variety of documents, including:

  • Six monthly and annual project reports by CMAs to DEECA.
  • Annual output reporting in state budget papers.
  • Annual delivery reporting is required for programs funded by the Environmental Contribution.
  • CMA annual reports and corporate plans
  • Reporting related to specific initiatives, for example, the Regional Riparian Action Plan.

Data from reporting processes is also used to publicly communicate progress against state-wide targets for improving waterway health, as described in the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy (VWMS).

Evaluation of the Victorian Waterway Management Program

Periodic assessment of management activities, regional programs and state-wide policy is required to determine their effectiveness, and of the Victorian Waterway Management Program as a whole.

Assessment is undertaken in accordance with predetermined key evaluation questions and the information used to adapt management if required and achieve continuous improvement.

Final progress: all targets achieved, with most exceeded

The VWMS released in 2013 has reached the end of its intended 8-year implementation period.

As a requirement of VWMS action 17.8, DEECA is required to report final progress against statewide targets.

All the 10 management outcome targets in the VWMS were achieved, with most targets exceeded (table 1). This was made possible with a boost in funding to improve the health of waterways and catchments across Victoria through Water for Victoria.

The investment has contributed to:

  • improving critical habitats and managing water for the environment for native plants and animals, including threatened species, iconic fish and waterbirds
  • improving recreational opportunities provided by waterways, including urban waterways
  • protecting cultural values of waterways
  • maintaining high-quality water for farming and communities
  • removing weeds and reducing threats from invasive animals.

Table 1: Final progress against targets in the VWMS

Over 81% of the strategy’s 96 actions were completed at the time of the review or are ongoing actions. Four actions were deemed by DEECA to be no longer required as these actions will be progressed through other work within the department.

In 2021, an independent review of the VWMS was completed as a key activity in the evaluation and reporting stage of the adaptive management.

Reporting is also used to highlight the great collaborative partnerships between regional agencies and stakeholders, including project highlights and achievements that have special value to local communities.

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder is required to report on when, where, how and why environmental water is used.

Information about the use, management and outcomes of environmental watering is outlined in the annual environmental watering booklet.

For copies of these reports go to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder website.

Final review of the Strategy

In 2021, an independent review of the Strategy was completed in accordance with Action 17.11 of the Strategy.

The independent review is a key activity in the evaluation and reporting stage of the Strategy's 8-year adaptive management approach.

The main purposes of the review were to:

  • Provide a high-level evaluation of the Strategy, including what went well, the appropriateness of the Strategy, and any challenges with implementation.
  • Appraise the success, strengths and weaknesses of the Strategy as a policy framework for the management of waterways.
  • Identify key areas for improvement for the next strategy based on the learnings from the current Strategy.

The independent review has helped us understand the key strengths, limitations and lessons learnt from the 2013 Strategy. This is a key foundational piece for the development of the new Strategy.

RM Consulting Group conducted the independent review and took place between November 2020 and May 2021, towards the end of the eight-year cycle of the 2013 Strategy.

The review was guided by an independent expert panel comprised of industry experts with significant scientific and policy expertise in waterway management — Dr Tamara Boyd, Dr Sandra Brizga, Professor Barry Hart and Professor Ian Rutherfurd.

Read the independent review of the Strategy

Page last updated: 19/03/24