Waterways and drainage annual assessment

Melbourne Water is the manager of all waterways and major drainage systems in the Port Phillip and Westernport region. That means we have responsibilities to protect and improve the health of our rivers, creeks, wetlands, and estuaries, provide regional drainage services, and work with partner organisations on flood protection, preparedness, response, and warning initiatives across the region. 

The work we do in waterways and drainage is funded through the Waterways and Drainage Charge. The Charge applies to all serviced properties – including homeowners and non-residential customers – located within our waterway management district, which extends from up in the Yarra Ranges across to Ballan in the west, through to Tarago in the east, and includes Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula in the south. The Charge is collected by local water corporations on our behalf. 

Waterways and drainage investment plan

The program of works we undertake is outlined in our Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan, which guides how we maintain and improve the rivers, creeks and estuaries of our region, protect and prepare the community for flooding, and manage stormwater in the region over a five year period. A summary of our current Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan – covering the period 2016/17 to 2020/21– is available to download below. 

This Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan replaced the previous Waterways and Drainage Strategy in July 2016. 

The commitments of the Plan (and the previous Waterways and Drainage Strategy) are tracked and assessed against key performance indicators and/or targets, which are independently assessed each year to track progress of the implementation of the Plan. The results of these independent assessments are made available to the public through Melbourne Water’s annual report or published online. 

The current Plan includes 21 targets (and associated performance measures) against which progress has been independently assessed. The overall results of the independent assessment of the current Plan are listed below. 

How the targets are assessed

The following criteria is used to measure what we've achieved:

  • ‘Met’ – 100% of measures are achieved and or the target value is achieved
  • ‘Substantially met’ – 80% of measures are achieved, target value is met on measures achieved and target value is likely to be achieved over the five year period
  • ‘Not met’ – the specification for this target has not been satisfied for the period assessed. That may be due to internal or external factors; all factors are recorded in the assessment. Target value may or may not be achieved over the five year period. 
  • ‘Not scored’ – target is not applicable to the yearly reporting period as these targets are measured over longer timeframes. 

2018–19 results

Overall assessment results

Number of targets Met  Substantially met Not met Not scored
21 18 3 0 1

Detailed assessment results

Plan target 2018–19 target value Assessment Comment
Greater than 80% community satisfaction with waterways is maintained over 2016/17–2020/21 N/A Not assessed In the plan, this target is only assessed every two years and the last survey was completed in 2016–17. Based on results from other years, this target is on track for the plan overall.
Waterways that have undergone active management will be maintained or improved against an established baseline by 2021 >80% Met N/A
Invest directly in improving 30 ha of green spaces for shade and cooling across Melbourne by 2021 10 ha Met N/A
Interventions completed over 2016/17–2020/21 maintain or reduce runoff and pollutants from urban and rural catchments against an established baseline >163 TN >5398 >tTSS Met N/A
100% of facilitated stormwater management over 2016/17–2020/21 achieves multiple benefits (e.g. greening, flood protection, alternative water, capacity building) 100% Met N/A
100% stormwater diversion licences are managed over 2016/17–2020/21 in accordance with the rules 100% Met N/A
100 capacity building initiatives will be delivered under the Clearwater program over 2016/17–2020/21 60 Met N/A
100% increase in number of catchments that are flood mapped by Melbourne Water or in partnership with others to improve understanding of current and future risks by 2021 (versus 2015 baseline) 54% (38 catchments) Met N/A
A 20% increase in the number of people, directly affected by flooding, who are aware of their risk by 2021 (versus 2015/16 baseline) N/A Met N/A
Lead collaborative development of 50% of new flood management options and delivery plans for the region by 2021 25 Met N/A
15% reduction in flood effects, achieved by projects in delivery by Melbourne Water by 2021 0% Met N/A
100% Diversions will be managed to meet the service requirements for licence and trade as specified in Melbourne Water’s customer charter for diversion services 100% Met N/A
100% annual environmental watering requirements delivered by Melbourne Water are met to the satisfaction of our customer, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder 100% Met N/A
100% Diversions will be managed in accordance with management plans and rules throughout the 2016/17–2020/21 period 100% Met N/A
100% of incidents that require a response will be managed promptly and in accordance with Environment Protection Act 1979 throughout the 2016/17–2020/21 period 100% Met N/A
100% of notifiable events on stipulated waterways will be provided to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) throughout the 2016/17–2020/21 period 100% Met N/A
100% of flood related property (information) statement updates are completed within one month of Melbourne Water receiving notification of a change in the relevant circumstances throughout the 2016/17–2020/21 period 100% Met N/A
100% of Development Services Schemes and Strategies will be implemented and reviewed according to the development planning program 100% Met N/A
Enhance at least 5km of concrete drains restoring to a more natural waterway by 2021 0.5km Substantially met There were significant delays of the ‘Reimagining your Creek’  project for Arnolds Creek due to increased project costs 
300 km of waterways where environmental water is improved or enhanced through Environmental Water management tools such as Stream Flow Management Plans by 2021 150km Substantially met Final consultation delayed several Stream Flow Management Plans
100% of statutory and 95% of agreed industry response times will be achieved for development referrals 100% statutory referrals
95% non-statutory referrals
Substantially met 1.9% (200) responses to statutory referrals did not meet the required timeframe

Previous years' results

Year Number of targets Met  Substantially met Not met Not scored
2017–18 21 18 2 1 0
2016–17 21 15 4 0 2

Waterways and drainage strategy

The previous Waterways and drainage strategy (2013–2018) outlined the work that Melbourne Water would complete in managing our waterways and drainage systems over this five year period. The strategy was our commitment to customers, stakeholders and the community.  In 2016, the strategy was superceded by the Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan.

The previous commitments were outlined through 39 targets detailed in the strategy. Progress against these targets was assessed every year by an independent auditor: Ernst and Young (for the second and third assessments in July 2015 and 2016).

Previous years' results

2016 assessment results

2016 assessment results 

All 39 targets were assessed as on track for the year. 32 of the targets were assessed as met and 7 as substantially met.

The findings of the assessment are summarised in the table below.  

​Commitment area ​Number of targets ​Met ​Substantially met ​Not met ​Not scored
​Healthy waterways ​7 ​6 ​1
​Valued stormwater ​5 ​4 ​1
​Effective flood management and drainage ​10 ​7 ​3
​Integrated urban development ​8 ​6 ​2
​Shared expert knowledge ​4 ​4
​Engaged customer and knowledge ​5 ​5
Total ​39 32 7


2015 assessment results

2015 assessment results

30 of the targets were assessed as met, 7 as substantially met and 2 as not scored.

The findings of the assessment are summarised in the table below.

​Commitment area ​​Number of targets Met​ ​​Substantially met ​Not met​ ​​Not scored
​​Healthy waterways ​7 ​5 ​2
​​Valued stormwater ​5 ​4 ​1
​​Effective flood management and drainage ​10 ​7 ​3
​Integrated urban development ​8 ​7 ​1
​​Shared expert knowledge ​4 ​4
​​Engaged customer and knowledge ​5 ​3 ​2
​Total ​39 ​30 ​7 ​2


2014 assessment results

2014 assessment results

Progress for the 2014/15 year is summarised below, having been recorded against two broad performance indicators.

Performance Indicators 2013-14 Result 2014-15 Result 2014-15 Target Variance to Prior Year​ Variance to Target

WW1 Waterways - Drainage and Flood protection:

A further 10 % of currently known intolerable (extreme) flood risks will be reduced by 2018

N/A N/A 10% by 2018* N/A N/A

WW2 Waterways condition:

Achievement of Water Plan implementation targets set out in the Healthy Waterways Strategy

100.0% 100.0% 100.0% N/A N/A

*Note: The 2014–15 performance indicator was assessed as on track to be met by 2018, validated in an independent audit.

More information

The following pages have further information on our work in waterway management and drainage:

Last updated:
12 August 2020