Drainage schemes explained

Schemes comprise of a catchment-based drainage strategy outlining the functional designs of the relevant infrastructure required to service urban growth. There's a pricing arrangement detailing how we'll recoup the infrastructure costs through financial contributions paid by developers.​

Drainage strategy

Each drainage scheme consists of a strategy for our proposed (regional) assets, and some assets which may become local council assets. These include conceptual designs for works such as:

  • pipelines
  • overland flow paths
  • retarding basins
  • wetlands
  • floodways
  • other drainage and water quality treatment measures

The strategy ensures planning for urban development is conducted on a catchment basis, and meets appropriate standards for flood protection and environmental performance, including protection and enhancement of waterway and biodiversity values.

Drainage contributions

The strategy is funded by financial contributions paid when development occurs. All developable properties pay a drainage contribution on the basis of the development size and the development type. Contributions include a hydraulic component which funds the flood protection works, and a water quality component which funds the water quality treatment works. The water quality component may be reduced or negated by the developer undertaking their own on-site water quality treatment.

Contributions for each scheme are calculated so the income we derive from contributions is designed to equal the planned expenditure over the expected life of a scheme, using a discounted cashflow methodology.

Most scheme works are constructed by developers, and developers who are required to construct scheme works are reimbursed from the contributions received in the scheme.

How schemes are managed

We currently manage more than 200 schemes. The preparation of new schemes is prioritised in areas where new development activity is most concentrated.

Active schemes are given annual financial reviews to ensure expenditure on drainage growth infrastructure continues to be matched by contributions, and engineering reviews are undertaken on an as-needs basis to ensure our schemes continue to meet current standards for flood protection and water quality treatment.

Contributions are the costs we recover from developers to fund drainage scheme works. These costs are then reimbursed to the developers that construct the scheme works.


Our policies governing scheme works have been developed to provide a safe, effective system for dealing with run-off, ensure appropriate flood protection and provide drainage services in the existing and growth areas of Melbourne. Our policies protect our rivers, creeks and floodplains in order to meet the environmental, economic, recreational and cultural needs of current and future generations.

Contributions policy

Reimbursements policy


We follow 16 core principles for creating and funding schemes outlined in our Principles for provision of waterway and drainage services for urban growth​.

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