Water is central to every community, powering our industries and economy, improving our quality of life and nurturing our natural environment. The health of our catchments are fundamental to providing water for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational and environmental purposes. Corangamite’s Traditional Owners have cultural, spiritual, and economic connections to water through their associations and relationship with Country. Traditional Owners have managed land and water sustainably over thousands of generations.
The waterways (rivers, estuaries and wetlands) of the Corangamite region are diverse and complex ecosystems and the ‘lifeblood’ of many communities. They have unique environmental values, providing habitat for native fish, invertebrates and water birds, while supporting extensive vegetation communities. They also have strong cultural and historic significance, are a focal point for recreation and tourism and their catchments provide our community with water for drinking, irrigation and industry (Corangamite Waterway Strategy, 2014 – 2022). Groundwater is an important resource shared by many users, sustaining key components of the region’s environment and services. Groundwater is not a limitless resource and needs to be managed to ensure its use is sustainable.
Integrated Catchment Management is a holistic way of managing land, water and biodiversity and recognises the intrinsic linkages between land-use and subsequent impacts on land, water and biodiversity. Integrated Catchment Management co-ordinates actions that deliver shared benefits and reduces unintended consequences for communities, the environment and regional economies. Although much progress has been made in recent years to implement Integrated Catchment Management, there is still a significant journey ahead. Much can be learned from the Wadawurrung and Eastern Maar People on how they view land, water and biodiversity assets as a single and inter-connected entity of ‘Country’ . Although this RCS separates discussion around these different asset classes, there is an intrinsic thread of integrated catchment management throughout with strong acknowledgement of the need to manage the system or catchment as a whole including incorporating the experience and wisdom of the Wadawurrung and Eastern Maar People.
The Corangamite Waterway Strategy defines waterways as:
- All rivers and streams, including their floodplains (and floodplain wetlands) and estuaries
- Non-riverine wetlands, lakes and impoundments
Under the Water Theme in the Corangamite Regional Catchment Strategy are four Sub-themes:
20 Year Outcome
By 2042, regional waterways (rivers, wetlands, lakes, estuaries and groundwater) are more resilient to the impacts of climate and land use change.
6 Year Outcomes
By 2027 there is an improvement in riparian extent and condition, hydrological regime and water quality compared to 2022 baselines in priority waterways defined in the Corangamite Waterway Strategy.
By 2027, the efficiency of consumptive water use from our priority waterways will be improved though use of cost effective alternative water sources and demand management strategies.
By 2027, waterway amenity will be improved for high priority urbanised waterways to enhance the user experience and connection to the natural landscape, compared to 2021 baseline.
By 2027, the condition of Ramsar listed wetlands and other priority wetlands identified in the Corangamite Waterway Strategy will be maintained and improved compared to 2021 baseline.
By 2027, the water quality of priority estuaries are maintained or improved, compared to index of estuary condition 2019 baseline.
By 2027, Wadawurrung and Eastern Maar Traditional Owner rights to access and manage water will be acknowledged and respected including a strong Traditional Owner voice on:
- all water planning activities which have the potential to provide water for Traditional Owner cultural or economic purposes;
- the timing and quantum of all environmental water releases;
- minimum environmental flows required for a healthy river;
- land management activities contributing to a healthy river system;
- knowledge and education on Traditional Owner values of water and connection to Country; and,
- development activities which may impact culturally significant water and riparian assets
By 2027, there is an increased understanding of floodplain management in relation to ecological and cultural values and mechanisms to mitigate the risk of flooding.
By 2027, the community’s understanding and awareness of the environmental, social and economic values of water will be increased compared to 2022 baseline.
By 2027 there will have been an increase in the extent of in-stream habitat compared to 2021 baseline in priority waterways for resilience of threatened native fish and waterway dependent species.
Regional Priority Directions
The following priority directions have been developed to deliver the 6 year outcomes identified for the Water Theme. They were developed through community consultation across the the nine Landscape Systems and will provide the basis for localised action. Landscape specific priority directions can be found here.
|W1||Develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation framework that enables timely adaptive management and decision making. The framework will allow for:|
1) accessible monitoring frameworks and repository of the region’s NRM resource data
2) develop measures and assessments to determine the community’s awareness of the natural values, their connection to these and their willingness to protect, enhance, and restore these
3) reporting to the community on implementation progress.
|W2||Catchment partners and the community collaborate to deliver a coordinated approach to water management with clear roles and responsibilities communicated||CCMA||Water Authorities, Local Govt, DELWP, Southern Rural Water|
|W3||Explore and implement cost effective water efficiency measures including demand reduction initiatives and alternative water sources by implementing the following plans and strategies:|
1) Urban Water Strategies for town water supply systems operated by Barwon Water, Central Highlands Water and Wannon Water;
2) priority projects identified by the Barwon, Central Highlands and Great South Coast Integrated Water Management Forums; and,
3) relevant actions from the 2022 Central and Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy
|Water Authorities||CCMA, Local Govt, DELWP, Southern Rural Water|
|W4||Develop enduring partnerships with WTOAC and EMAC to enable joint decisions on:|
1) all seasonal watering proposals related to current environmental water entitlements
2) environmental flow recommendations
3) priority areas for riparian vegetation protection and enhancement
4) enhancement of waterway amenity
5) waterway cultural education and tourism opportunities
6) other water related business opportunities for Traditional Owners
7) water planning
8) changes to water allocations
1) to 7)
|DELWP, WTOAC, EMAC, Water Authorities, Local Govt.|
|W5||Deliver waterway health programs identified in the Corangamite Waterway Strategy using an integrated catchment management approach||CCMA||DELWP, CPA Partners|
|W6||Landuse planning, decisions to take into account the potential impact of proposals on the natural function of floodplains, waterways and the riparian zone.||Local Govt||CCMA|
|W7||Works on waterways, floodplain management and water management decisions to take into account the potential impact of proposals on the natural function of floodplains, waterways and the riparian zone.||CCMA||Local Govt|
|W8||Protect and enhance areas of riparian vegetation along priority waterways as defined in the Corangamite Waterway Strategy including fencing to reduce the impact of livestock.||CCMA||Local Govt, Landcare|
|W9||By end of 2024, renew the Corangamite Waterway Strategy||CCMA||CPA Partners|
|W10||Encourage developers to implement water sensitive urban design and integrated water management principles and require developers to protect native vegetation, cultural heritage and floodplain function.||Local Govt||CCMA, DELWP|
|W11||Ensure the impact of groundwater extraction on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) is monitored, assessed and taken into account in decisions on applications for new or transfers of groundwater entitlements.||SRW||CCMA, DELWP|
|W12||Implement the Corangamite Regional Floodplain Management Strategy with specific focus on:|
1) reducing existing flood risks, avoiding future flood risks and managing residual flood risks;
2) influencing strategic planning processes and outcomes during the early phase of state and regionally significant developments; and,
3) retaining the ecological function of riverine and estuarine floodplains
|CCMA||Local Govt, PV, DELWP, SES|
Relevant Water Information Sources
The following documents have been referred to in developing the Water theme:
Western District Lakes Interim Ramsar Site Management Plan