Living Rivers funding

The Living Rivers program offers councils funding, expertise and guidance to build their understanding, skills and commitment to manage stormwater within an integrated water management approach. Funding rounds usually open in February and September each year.

We support a range of on-ground works and strategic projects. Our team is multi-disciplinary so that our partners can access a range of expertise. Our primary objective is to improve stormwater quality and reduce stormwater quantity, enhancing waterway and bay health.

We’re seeking projects that address:

  • improved understanding across the region of best practice stormwater management for improving waterway health
  • greener open spaces and enhanced urban landscapes
  • alternative supply options to preserve drinking water supplies
  • reduced localised flooding
  • improved amenity in our local communities

Approximately $3.5 million will be available to local governments for projects that improve the health of waterways and the bays, support the liveability of local places and enable thriving landscapes through sustainable stormwater management.

As in previous rounds, a 1:1 co-funding commitment from your council is required. Collaboration between other partners, such as water retailers, developers and other authorities, is also encouraged.

For more details on eligibility criteria, see the information on this page and the grant application guidelines.

Who can apply

The Living Rivers program offers funding to local councils within Melbourne Water's service area.  

Submit your application online

Apply for Living Rivers program

A new Living Rivers program's funding round will be open in September 2018.

How to apply

Applications must be made online and all supporting documentation submitted alongside the online application. Please review the application guidelines and complete the pre-application checklist before submitting your application.

September 2017 funding round outcomes

Funding from the most recent round of the Living Rivers Program has been offered to 13 local councils for 22 projects that aim to achieve sustainable stormwater management outcomes.

In total, an additional $1.52 million has been offered through this round of funding for the 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years.

These range from strategic planning and capital works projects to training, community engagement and personnel roles. Thank you to all who applied in this round of funding.

Types of work funded

Examples of what Living Rivers will fund include:

  • innovative and industry leading methods of preventing, reducing and managing stormwater pollution
  • municipal Integrated Water Management Strategies with stormwater pollutant reduction targets
  • WSUD master planning - prioritisation of capital works budgets
  • community engagement to promote WSUD at home, including rainwater tanks
  • industrial estate source pollution tracking, education and enforcement
  • WSUD officers and training
  • local WSUD planning scheme amendments
  • WSUD feasibility, design and construction

Contact the Living Rivers team for an entire list of what we will fund: email [email protected].

Living Rivers will not fund:

  • gross pollutant traps
  • pipes or pits (other than within WSUD, or to divert stormwater for stormwater treatment)
  • WSUD online in waterways
  • waterway works (bed and bank, riparian improvement)
  • open space furniture
  • tree planting
  • maintenance works 

Eligibility and funding criteria

Identifying individual council needs and building strong relationships has been central to the Living Rivers approach.

To be eligible for funding, council applicants must meet the following criteria for project submissions, projects that:

  • are undertaken by an individual council, or group of councils within our service area. Assets created must be owned and maintained by council
  • deliver improved stormwater quality and/or reduced stormwater quantity for better waterway condition and bay health (primarily reducing nitrogen to Port Phillip Bay and sediment to Western Port)
  • have matching council/partner funding to us on a 50:50 minimum basis. That is, for every dollar funded by us, the grant recipient must co-contribute at least one dollar in cash or in kind
  • council (and/or project partners) will lead and deliver the project using internal staff and resources
  • seek our grant funding to a maximum of $300,000 per project

Funding priority

Funding priority is given to grant proposals that:

  • have Council funding committed for projects starting 2017/18 and finishing by June 2019
  • will deliver skill development and increase council’s commitment for managing stormwater within an integrated water management approach
  • demonstrate regional leadership and influence through innovation and active collaboration with other councils or organisations
  • are in drainage systems that are directly managed by councils
  • where the benefit of managing stormwater impacts on receiving water is high. Priority will be given to projects with a high connectivity to waterways of higher ecological condition
  • in our assessment, delivers investments and projects that will not occur without Living River’s funding
  • where funding provides on-ground works and council can demonstrate that they’ve committed to maintaining the asset so that it achieves its waterway management objective long term
  • where council can demonstrate that their residents support integrated water management

Existing projects

Existing Living Rivers structural projects have been mapped on Google maps showing most of the constructed Living Rivers project locations.

There are also a number of case studies of projects that have had Living Rivers involvement.

  • Moreland Community Integrated Water Cycle Management Project
    To raise awareness of IWCM and the impacts of stormwater, Moreland City Council has launched their Integrated Water Cycle Management project with community targets in their Water Map 2020 plan.
  • Kingston Master Plan
    A large number of councils are developing integrated stormwater management strategies that set targets for stormwater quality, harvesting and re-use. Whilst the documentation of key objectives and targets is an important first step, many councils struggle to convert this into a logical and practical implementation project.

  • Stonnington Biodiversity Wetland
    The Stonnington Biodiversity Wetlands project has improved the treatment of stormwater and created habitat for native animals. 

  • Mornington Point Source Investigations
    Food businesses within the Tanti and Ballar Creek catchments have been identified as potential sources of high levels of bacteria (E.Coli) in the stormwater system, subsequently contributing to beach closures and algal blooms at the well utilised downstream beaches.

  • Living Rivers Bioretention System Hold Points training presentation
    This presentation accompanied the Living Rivers Bioretention System Hold Points training, delivered at Moreland and Kingston City Councils. The training focusses on the six main 'hold points' that will help ensure the quality delivery of a bioretention system in the design construction and handover phases of a bioretention system.

  • Living Rivers Water Sensitive Urban Design Asset Audit
    This report illustrates the key findings in a recent Living Rivers WSUD asset audit. The audit reviewed 95 WSUD assets around metropolitan Melbourne that have been part-funded through the Living Rivers program and owned by Council. The purpose of the audit was to evaluate the condition of WSUD assets and whether they are still delivering their intended benefits, the type of problems that exist and their causes.

Other case studies include:

Contact us

If you would like more information, please contact the Living Rivers team:

Last updated:
23 April 2018