Waterways and their surroundings are an integral part of our environment. They provide important natural, cultural and scenic values such as conserving native flora and fauna, providing recreation and tourism.
Waterways are also important economically being used in irrigation, urban and industrial water supply and agriculture. A balance is required between these values and uses which can often be conflicting.
Water resources include both surface water (rivers, creeks and lakes) and groundwater (aquifers). The management of water resources is largely concerned with water quantity. The ultimate goal of water resource management is to ensure that water use is ecologically sustainable.
Water resource management in Victoria is a shared role between a number of different agencies.
The key players involved in water resource management in South Western Victoria are:
- State government - particularly through Department of Sustainability and Enivronment and the Departnment of Primary Industry;
- Rural Water Authorities – Southern Rural Water is the responsible authority for most of South Western Victoria;
- Urban Water Authorities – Wannon Water, Central Highlands Water and GWMWater; and
- Catchment Management Authorities - Glenelg Hopkins CMA.
The management of water resources, specifically the Environmental Water Reserve, in the Glenelg Hopkins region is a statutory responsibility under the Water Act (1989) and includes:
- The management of Environmental Water Reserves including the formal shared Flora and Fauna Bulk Entitlement for the Glenelg and Wimmera Rivers’
- Acting as a referral authority for waterway management referrals such as applications for dam and bore construction licenses and take and use water licenses
- Prioritising catchments for the development of Streamflow Management Plans
- Ensuring Streamflow and Groundwater Management Plans integrate with other catchment management strategies
- Oversee implementation of Streamflow and Groundwater Management Plans including review of annual compliance reports; and
- Participation in Bulk Entitlement processes