Our contributions policy details the owner's contributions for the provision of waterway, water quality treatment and drainage facilities, and the criteria upon which assessment of the amount of the contributions is based.
Cost recovery for works
We recover the cost of providing new waterways, water quality treatment and drainage works with capacity to cater for urban growth.
The costs related to urban growth and the new drainage infrastructure are recovered through the payment by developers of drainage area contributions. This is because development occurs with all properties contributing on the basis of land area and land zoning.
The drainage area contributions have a hydraulic component and a water quality component. The hydraulic component of the contributions fund infrastructure to convey or retard stormwater.
This includes waterway protection works and the water quality component of the contributions fund the construction of water quality treatment infrastructure such as wetlands.
The provisions of new drainage infrastructure to support greenfield development within our operational boundary is managed through greenfield development services schemes (DSS).
Schemes consist of functional designs for our (regional) assets, and local council drainage assets including works such as pipelines, overland flow paths, retarding basins, wetlands, floodways and other water quality treatment measures.
Basis for calculating drainage contributions
Drainage area contribution rates are derived from the cost of constructed works and the estimated cost of proposed works in a development services scheme, apportioned across the developable area.
Reimbursement rates are used to calculate the reimbursement value for works being constructed and the estimated cost of proposed works
These rates are reviewed periodically to capture changes, and have been accepted by the Drainage Scheme Review Group (representing a number of industry bodies such as ALDE, UDIA and the MAV).
Applicability of contributions
The Planning and Environment Act 1987, Planning Schemes, the Subdivision Act 1988 and the Water Act 1989 all contain provisions which together enable us to collect contributions for subdivisions and development. The contributions in turn fund drainage works.
Drainage area contributions
Land within a greenfield development services schemes
The greenfield development services scheme contribution recovers the cost of providing all development properties within the scheme with outfall drainage. This includes waterway and water quality facilities that are required for new development.
Contribution rates within development services schemes are determined by spreading the cost of necessary works across the area of developable land within the development services scheme.
Each individual scheme has a contribution rate. In allocating contributions to the properties within the scheme, the contribution rates take into account the expected differences in the volume of runoff from different densities of development as a consequence of differing proportions of impervious surfaces.
Where multiple schemes contribute to the need for downstream works, the cost of such works will be attributed to each scheme in proportion to its relative impact.
Developers of land within a greenfield development services scheme will be required to pay contributions for the hydraulic component of development services scheme works necessary for the conveyance of stormwater.
Water quality component
Land development within a greenfield development services scheme containing water quality treatment works will be required to either:
- Pay the water quality component of the contributions for works necessary to treat stormwater within the catchment
- Construct on-site water quality treatment measures to treat to Best Practice Environment Management Objectives and receive a reduction in the water quality component of the contributions
Land development in a scheme without proposed water quality treatment works will be required to either:
- Construct on-site water quality treatment measures to treat to Best Practice Environment Management Objectives in accordance with Clause 53.18 of the Victorian Planning Provisions for industrial development with an area greater than five hectares – and in accordance with Clause 56 of the Victorian Planning Provisions for residential development greater than one hectare; or
- Either pay a water quality contribution toward our Regional Water Quality Treatment Capital Works Program where the area of the development is less than five hectares for industrial development and less than one hectare for residential development or construct onsite water quality treatment works and receive a reduction in the water quality contributions.
Land not within a scheme
If the land doesn't fall into a scheme, the following hydraulic and water quality contributions apply.
Land outside of a greenfield development services scheme won't be required to pay contributions for the hydraulic component of contributions.
Water quality component
Land outside of a greenfield development services scheme will be required to either:
- Construct on-site water quality treatment measures to treat to Best Practice Environment Management Objectives for industrial development with an area greater than five hectares and in accordance with Clause 56 of the Victorian Planning Provisions for residential development greater than one hectare; or
- Either pay a Water Quality contribution toward our Regional Water Quality Treatment Capital Works Program where the area of the development is less than five hectares for industrial development and less than one hectare for residential development or construct on-site water quality treatment works and receive a reduction in the Water Quality contributions.
The contribution payable for individual subdivisions and developments is based on the area within each subdivision or development. The amount payable is determined irrespective of whether the property is being subdivided or developed and will depend upon the location, zoning and potential density of the development.
The contributions for a subdivision or development will be calculated using the current rate at the time the application is received by us and will remain valid for three months from the date of the Offer.
If payment isn't made within those three months, the contribution will be calculated using the rate applicable at the time of payment.
Where notification of a contribution rate increase is made and an application is received before the increase takes effect, then the development contributes at the lower rate provided:
- payment is received within 3 months of the Offer date
- construction is completed and a Statement of Compliance is issued within 18 months of the Offer date
Otherwise, we may require the developer to pay the difference in contributions calculated on the previous and current rates.
In each greenfield development services scheme the relative cost of providing facilities to manage the impact of development on the waterways, water quality and drainage systems, is linked to the change in stormwater runoff as a result of the change in development density.
New development density categories and ratios were applied from 1 July 2014, and are set out in Table 1. These new development density categories and ratios align our scheme contributions model with trends to smaller residential lot sizes, and have been endorsed by peak land development associations UDIA and ALDE.
Table 1: Development density ratios - as of July 2014
average lot size
|Relative density ratio for drainage contributions||5-year ARI coefficient of runoff|
|High density residential
(300 - 600m2)
(601 - 1,000m2)
|Low density residential
(1,001 - 2,000m2)
|Low density residential
(2,001 - 4,000m2)
|Low density residential
(4,001 - 10,000m2)
|Low density residential
|Retirement village developments||1.15||0.7|
|Schools, religious centres and prisons||1||0.65|
Note: Reports by the former Dandenong Valley and Western Port Authority for individual development services schemes implemented prior to July 1992 use different ratios from those stated above.
For the purpose of this policy, new development generally includes:
- greenfield development, i.e. broad hectare land not previously developed or subdivided for urban purposes
- first time subdivision for urban purposes or development of infill sites within generally developed areas
- lots created by subdivision of existing larger lots zoned for low density or rural-residential type purposes
- all industrial/commercial zoned land unless there is evidence of prior payment of a drainage contribution to us, or in our opinion, the land has been previously developed
The development density of multi-storey residential developments will be assessed on the basis of the lowest residential floor. It would generally be expected that such developments fall within the high density residential development category.
Credits for redevelopment in a scheme
Re-subdivision or redevelopment of land within greenfield development services schemes refers to development of lots previously formed as part of a greenfield subdivision which created allotments for urban use, and/or which were previously developed for urban use.
If the average new lot density (based on average lot areas within the re-subdivision or redevelopment) is consistent with the previous development density assumptions, no contribution is payable.
If the average lot density isn't consistent with the previous development density assumptions (i.e.; less dense) and the property is larger than 0.2 hectare, a contribution is payable.
The contribution rate to be used to calculate the contribution payable will be the difference between that appropriate for the previous development density and that appropriate for the development density newly proposed.
Water quality offsets against contributions
Requirements for stormwater quality management have evolved since the implementation of the Urban Stormwater: Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines (BPEMG) which specify objectives for the treatment of stormwater. These guidelines are referenced in the State Planning Policy Framework and form a part of the attainment program for the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria).
We require all developments to meet the objectives set out in the BPEMG through either of the following mechanisms:
- contribution to a development services scheme that proposes catchment stormwater quality works
- contribution to our Capital Works Program for regional water quality works
- on-site treatment
Nitrogen offsets against contributions for on-site treatment
We will reduce the water quality component of the drainage area contribution payable where applicable for developments that provide on-site water quality treatment (see Drainage Area Contributions).
The offset is calculated based on the amount of nitrogen being retained on-site proportional to BPEMG. If the development is achieving best practice on-site, then no water quality contributions are payable.
To apply for a reduction in stormwater quality contributions, please use the Offsets form.
The following exemptions may apply to development contributions:
- No contribution is payable for stage or 'super' lots on greenfield residential subdivisions
- No contribution is payable for land set aside on plans of subdivision as drainage reserves or easement for our waterways, open channels, low flow pipelines with grassed overflow channels and water quality control works
- No contribution is payable for reserves in residential subdivisions which are un-developable as a result of encumbrance (e.g. electricity reserves)
- No contribution is payable where it can be demonstrated that previous arrangements or contribution payments, appropriate to the type of subdivision or development now taking place have been made
- No contribution is payable for existing development within a Greenfield subdivision provided the development is retained and a substantial portion of the existing drainage system forms part of or will be connected to the ultimate drainage system within the respective Development Services Scheme