Central Highlands Water (CHW) has released two major water plans for the Victorian Central Highlands region’s water supply and drought preparedness over the next 50 years.
CHW’s plans aim to ensure that its services remain safe, reliable and affordable, and consider the water future of the growing region.
They also set goals for efficient community water use and conservation to safeguard the Central Highlands’ long-term water future.
The 2022 Urban Water Strategy (UWS) is a 50-year plan that considers potential influences on future service delivery. These include population growth, climate change, regulatory requirements and changing policy directions. The plan, which looks as far ahead as 2070, also details water supply and demand scenarios, as well as wastewater capacity and needs.
The 2022 Drought Preparedness Plan outlines actions that CHW will follow during periods of drought, as well as other events that may cause a short-term reduction in the availability of supply.
The actions outlined in the plan include raising community awareness about water resource storage levels and the promotion of Permanent Water Saving Rules.
Strengthening education programs, promoting the use of digital technology to support customers managing their water use, and greening public open spaces with alternative water sources, are further actions that will support the responsible use of water.
CHW Managing Director, Jeff Haydon, highlighted that talking to communities is an integral part of the planning process.
“CHW engaged with communities to talk about a future that includes climate change, less water availability and considerable growth in the region. We asked how they use water and about opportunities they see for the local water cycle,” Mr Haydon said.
“Our community members are aware of water supply challenges into the future. We are prepared for these challenges and are making sure our supplies are secure for the long-term. Our strategic planning includes investigating new opportunities for recycled water usage, local integrated water management options and regional water grid possibilities.”