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. Waterways within the Corangamite region are living and integrated natural entities and the Traditional Owners, both Wadawurrung and Eastern Maar are the voice of these living entities.

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: