Sharing our water

We carry out long-term water resource assessments to examine how water availability and waterway health has changed. These assessments provide a clear picture of water supplies in the region, as well as the health of waterways.

The assessments are used to update and guide water planning, including how water is shared.

The assessment for southern Victoria was completed in early 2020. This is the first comprehensive technical assessment of how surface water and groundwater availability has already changed across southern Victoria, and the first large-scale effort to assess long-term changes in waterway health due to flow.

The assessment found that:

  • less water is now available for cities, towns, farms, industry and the environment
  • all water users have been affected, but in some basins, rivers have had more of a decline than water for consumptive demands – cities, towns and farms.
  • the main cause of the decline is drier conditions, and this trend is likely to continue because of climate change.

The assessment found that long-term surface water availability is now less than when it was last estimated for the sustainable water strategies.

The Government is using this assessment to plan for the next 50 years as it begins work on the new Central and Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy. This sustainable water strategy will find the right balance between our available water and our uses, taking into account economic, social and environmental matters, as well as Aboriginal cultural values and recreational values.

The assessment for northern Victoria will commence in 2025 and align with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan review scheduled for 2026.

For more information, including to download the final assessment reports, please visit https://www.water.vic.gov.au/planning/long-term-assessments-and-strategies/ltwra.

Community Consultation

The Long-Term Water Resource Assessment for southern Victoria was completed in just over 18 months to allow time for extensive community consultation, including 18 open house information sessions at 9 locations across regional Victoria.

Over 2,350 people visited the Engage.vic webpage and 151 submissions were received on the draft Long-Term Water Resource Assessment.

Engagement snapshot for the draft Long-Term Water Resource Assessment for Southern Victoria

Engagement snapshot for the draft Long-Term Water Resource Assessment for Southern Victoria

Key themes in submissions on the Long-Term Water Resource Assessment

  • 37 per cent of respondents indicated that they want more water allocated towards the environment. They said that more environmental water is needed to manage and improve or maintain the health of rivers and wetlands, including the plants and animals that depend on them.
  • 32 per cent of respondents indicated that more re-use and recycling of water is needed. They expressed concern that, as populations grow and urban development increases, there will be a greater demand upon water supplies.
  • 28 per cent of respondents indicated that they want to ensure that the distribution of water in southern Victoria is balanced. Respondents want healthy rivers, lakes and bays, and viable industries. They know that cities and urban developments also require water security now and into the future.
  • 25 per cent of respondents expressed concern about urban water use. Some of these respondents stated that the cities are taking water from regional and rural areas, and they are concerned about how much water will be required in the future for growing urban environments. A number of comments were made around capturing and using stormwater, rainwater and recycled water. Respondents said that we need to become more innovative in the ways that water is supplied to urban areas.

A comprehensive analysis of the outcomes of community consultation is included in the Long-Term Water Resource Assessment for Southern Victoria: Overview Report. Please visit https://www.water.vic.gov.au/planning/long-term-assessments-and-strategies/ltwra for more information or call the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Key themes in submissions on the Long-Term Water Resource Assessment

Key themes in submissions on the Long-Term Water Resource Assessment