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The Victorian Government has released a draft Strategy to address the challenges a warmer climate will have on water security for cities, towns, agriculture and Traditional Owners. 

The draft paper Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy has a key focus on preserving and boosting water supplies, outlining options that mean no water will be taken from existing entitlement holders.

For the first time in such a strategy, the Government has partnered with Traditional Owners in developing the plan, which includes proposals to increase Traditional Owner access to water entitlements. 

The Government is also seeking feedback on the paper, to see the community’s views on options to meet this increasing demand in a drying climate.

This paper includes these strategies: 

  • Strengthening the water grid through increasing capacity of the Melbourne Geelong interconnector
  • A regional-scale stormwater harvesting system at Sunbury – using more recycled water for irrigation in the region west of Melbourne, to free up water for rivers and drinking supplies
  • Changing the maximum water-use target of 155L per person per day to 150L per-person per day

As the climate gets drier, all options need to be considered – including increasing the use of recycled water for non-drinking purposes, desalination and saving more water across households, industry, agriculture, sporting fields, parks and gardens.  

By 2065, the Melbourne and Geelong region will be relying on manufactured water for an estimated 75 per cent of its supplies. 

Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, said, “Thanks to the desal plant our water storages are currently healthy, but we know we have to do more into the future including saving water and providing extra supply including by recycling water and using stormwater.

“We need to meet the challenges of climate change and increased demand for water – our rivers need extra flows, we need to continue supporting agriculture, industry and jobs and ensure we have water for communities and recreational use.”

“This is the first time we have partnered with Traditional Owners in developing a Sustainable Water Strategy, continuing our commitment to increase cultural access to water.”

The Government is seeking public feedback to inform the final strategy, which will be released in 2022.

To access the draft Strategy for comment, visit: engage.vic.gov.au/central-and-gippsland-region-sustainable-water-strategy.

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