Water Policy Context
Water Act 1989
The Water Act 1989, provides the legal framework for managing Victoria’s water resources. The main purposes of the Act, is to promote the equitable and efficient use of water resources, ensure water resources are conserved and properly managed for the benefit of all Victorians, and increase community involvement in conserving and managing water resources.
Water for Victoria
Water for Victoria, is a Plan for a future with less water as Victoria responds to the impact of climate change and a growing population.
The actions set out in the Plan support a healthy environment, a prosperous economy with growing agricultural production and thriving communities.
Some of the key actions relevant to the RCS are:
- Embedding climate change considerations in all operational decisions (Action 2.2)
- Investing in Integrated Catchment Management (Action 3.3)
- Providing long-term investment to improve waterway health (Action 3.4)
- Managing waterways for shared benefits – social, cultural, economic and environmental (Action 3.6)
- Supporting community partnerships and citizen science (Action 3.8)
- Improving the recording of progress and how the information is reported back to communities, implementing the new Rivers 2040 framework (Action 3.9)
- Dealing with the impacts of population growth, including resilient, cities and towns (Action 5.6)
- Recognising and managing for Aboriginal values:
- Action 6.1 – recognise Aboriginal values and objectives of water
- Action 6.2 – considering Aboriginal values in water planning and management
- Action 6.3 – support Aboriginal access to water for economic development
- Action 6.4 – build capacity to increase Aboriginal participation in water management.
Victorian Waterway Management Strategy
The Victorian Waterway Management Strategy, provides the framework for government, in partnership with the community, to maintain or improve the condition of rivers, estuaries and wetlands so they can continue to provide environmental, social, cultural and economic values for all Victorians. The Victorian Waterway Management Strategy is currently being renewed.
Integrated Water Management Framework for Victoria
The Integrated Water Management (IWM) Framework for Victoria, is designed to help regional stakeholders to work together, ensuring the water cycle contributes to the liveability of towns and cities in Victoria, with communities at the centre of decision making.
To facilitate this, IWM forums have been established across the state to identify, prioritise and oversee the implementation of critical collaborative opportunities. These are led by water authorities and for the Gippsland region, this incorporates South Gippsland Water and Gippsland Water.
The Gippsland Strategic Directions Statement 2018, identifies 15 IWM flagship opportunities across the region.
Environment Protection Act 2017
The Environment Protection Act 2017, (as amended by the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018) provides the legislative framework for the protection of human health and the environment from pollution and waste. The Act retains an Environmental Reference Standard as a core element of this framework.
State Environment Protection Policy (Waters)
The Victorian Government declared a new State Environment Protection Policy (Waters) on Tuesday 23 October 2018. The new SEPP (Waters) was developed to ensure that Victoria has a contemporary statutory policy for the protection and management of surface water and groundwater in Victoria.
From 1 July 2021, the Environment Protection Act 2017 as amended (the Act) replaces the Environment Protection Act 1970. It establishes the new framework for environmental protection. It is underpinned by the general environmental duty (GED) and duties for waste, contaminated land and incident notification and management.
The Act is designed with a different mix of subordinate instruments and regulatory tools to support and work with the Act. This framework focuses on the prevention of waste and the impacts of pollution, rather than managing those impacts after they have occurred.
SEPP (Waters) will not continue as a subordinate instrument under the Act, and its formal statutory role ended on 1 July 2021, except in some limited circumstances.
Much of the content of SEPP (Waters) has been replaced by the Act, its Regulations and the Environment Reference Standard (ERS), or through new guidance published by EPA.
Sustainable Water Strategy
Sustainable Water Strategies (SWS), are long-term plans developed to secure a sustainable supply of water in Victoria’s regions. The Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy, is currently being renewed. The Strategy, will be a comprehensive plan for the sustainable use of water resources in the Central and Gippsland Region – an area that covers the waterways and catchments south of the Great Divide down to the coast, from the Otways to East Gippsland.
The Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy, will include a series of actions to meet the region’s water needs with a focus on:
- Promoting water conservation and efficiency, by setting out ways we can continue to reduce the amount of water we use
- Facilitating greater use of recycled water and stormwater where it is fit for purpose, and better capture and use the rain that falls on our cities and towns
- Enabling water resources to be better shared by considering all uses and values for water, including those of Traditional Owners and
- Improving how entitlements and trade can be used by water entitlement holders to manage risks.
West Gippsland Waterway Strategy
The West Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014-2022, is an eight year action plan for rivers, wetlands and estuaries. It guides investment in waterway management. This Strategy provides a single, regional planning document for waterways in West Gippsland. The West Gippsland Waterway Strategy will be renewed in 2023.
West Gippsland Regional Floodplain Strategy 2018-2027
The purpose of the West Gippsland Regional Floodplain Management Strategy, is to provide a single, regional planning document for floodplain management within the West Gippsland CMA region.
- Identifies those parts of the region with significant flood risk
- Identifies possible actions to mitigate those risks
- Establishes a list of priority actions to be implemented over the ten year duration of the strategy.