The Victorian Government has released a draft water plan, which aims to prepare the state for future challenges and increased demand.
The ‘Water for Victoria’ plan outlines the need to balance agricultural, industrial, recreational and environmental needs, to get the most out of one of Australia’s most precious resources.
Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, invited community feedback to ensure Victoria has the best possible plan to prepare for critical challenges such as climate change, population growth, an increased demand for water and water security.
Ms Neville said, “We know that by 2051 Victoria’s population will almost double, that we will continue to face drying conditions and that there will be an increased demand for water.
“Water for Victoria is about community and government working together to plan for those challenges – recognising how critical water security is to our economy, jobs and our liveability.”
The plan recognises that the sector needs to work closer with local communities when making critical decisions about their water supplies.
For the first time, the plan proposes to establish an Aboriginal Water Program which will help identify Aboriginal values and uses of water and help build the capacity of the sector to ensure the involvement of Traditional Owners.
The Victorian Government will work to ensure it respects and recognises the cultural connections Aboriginal communities have to land, water and resources through their associations and spiritual relationships with the country.
The Victorian Government will not change entitlements but wants to work with farmers to identify the best way to support them adapt to reducing water availability and build resilience of water supply.
The plan will now be tested with Victorian communities through online and face to face consultations.