Waterways and drainage investment plan

Our Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan details our responsibilities, goals and service levels for our waterway management and drainage services. Download the latest plan or view progress on our commitments.

The five-year Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan outlines our program of works to:

  • maintain and improve the rivers, creeks and estuaries in our region
  • protect and prepare the community when it floods
  • manage stormwater.

These works are funded by property owners across the Port Phillip and Westernport region through our Waterways and Drainage Charge.

Download the plan

Our 2021-26 Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan was developed to support our 2021 Price Submission. This proposes prices and standards for our services – including waterway management and drainage – and is subject to approval by the Essential Services Commission. The Commission released their final decision on our prices on 22 June 2021, which can be viewed on the Essential Services Commission’s website.

Download an overview of the plan or the full document:

Assessing our progress

Our current investment plan replaced the previous Waterways and Drainage Strategy in July 2016. It includes 21 targets and associated performance measures, against which our annual progress is independently assessed. The results are published on this page and in our annual report.

The following criteria are 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.

Latest results for 2019–20

Overall assessment results

Number of targets Met Substantially met Not met Not scored
21 17 3 1 0

Detailed assessment results

Plan target 2019–20 target value Assessment Comment
Greater than 80% community satisfaction with waterways is maintained over 2016/17–2020/21 >80% Met N/A
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 20 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 80 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) 77% (54 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 levels) N/A Substantially met Program delivered through a partnership with the Victorian State Emergency Service via volunteers. Extreme bushfire events and COVID-19 impacted delivery of the program.
Lead collaborative development of 50% of new flood management options and delivery plans for the region by 2021 35 Met N/A
15% reduction in flood effects, achieved by projects in delivery by Melbourne Water by 2021 0% Not met The cost of delivering infrastructure projects in established urban areas has increased significantly over the period of the plan, impacting Melbourne Water’s ability to deliver this reduction efficiently.
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 5 kilometres of concrete drains restoring to a more natural waterway by 2021 2km Substantially met Two projects have been counted against the target in 2019/20, totalling 1.98km naturalised – marginally less than the required target value.
300 kilometres of waterways where environmental water is improved or enhanced through Environmental Water management tools such as Stream Flow Management Plans by 2021 220km Met N/A
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 273 (2.69%) responses to statutory referrals and 894 (7.72%) responses to development 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
2018–19 21 18 3 0 1

Waterways and Drainage Strategy results

The previous Waterways and Drainage Strategy 2013–18 (superseded in 2016) contained 39 targets that were assessed by an independent auditor each year.

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

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

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.


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