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Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh has released the Victorian Government’s new urban water policy Melbourne’s Water Future and opened applications for $15 million in funding for projects that will drive the transformation of the city’s water system.

“Melbourne will become an international leader in urban water planning and delivery thanks to the Victorian Coalition Government’s water reform initiatives,” Minister Walsh said.

“The economic analysis that underpins Melbourne’s Water Future identifies savings of between $6 and $7 billion by 2050 as compared with a business as usual approach which has resulted in the expensive desalination plant and the redundant North-South Pipeline.

“By averting the need for new dams or desalination plants, reducing capital costs of upgrading pipe networks and reducing pumping costs, Melbourne’s Water Future will help avoid the scale of price rises seen on household bills in recent times.

“Melbourne’s future use of water will now be based on whole-of-water-cycle principles to keep costs down and the whole city green, healthy and liveable.”

Mr Walsh said the new policy would see Melbourne make smarter use of rainwater and recycled water, and the right water being used for the right purpose.

“Every year, even in drought years, more rain falls on Melbourne than the city draws from the dams. It makes no sense to let that rain run into stormwater drains and out to sea when it can be harvested for better use on ovals, parks and gardens,” Mr Walsh said.

“It makes even less sense to flush high quality drinking water down the toilet when cheaper water options are available. Alternative water resources will guarantee sufficient water for the city’s needs, even with a growing population and the probability of future droughts.

“This policy is about securing Melbourne’s future water supplies, keeping future costs low and ensuring our cities are green and liveable.”

The $15 million available through round two of Living Victoria Fund will help accelerate new alternate water systems across greater Melbourne. It includes $3 million for community organisations to work on whole-of-water-cycle projects at a local level.

Melbourne’s Water Future is based on the capture and use of local water so in the future there will be literally thousands of small and medium scale projects delivering alternative water to local communities across Melbourne,” Mr Walsh said.

More information about Melbourne’s Water Future and the Living Victoria Fund is at www.livingvictoria.vic.gov.au

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