Unprecedented collaboration leads new Strategy to keep waterways healthy

More than 220 different organisations have worked together to develop the new Healthy Waterways Strategy that will help ensure the long-term health of waterways across metropolitan Melbourne.

The Strategy, co-designed with Traditional Owners, community and stakeholders, prioritises improvements to waterway condition, recreation, community connection and amenity, including provision for 1888 kilometres of new vegetation canopy and improving access to 179 kilometres of waterways.

Michael Wandmaker, Melbourne Water’s Managing Director, said the new Strategy sets long-term targets for the condition of waterways throughout the Port Phillip and Westernport Region.

“The Strategy outlines clear objectives to manage the region’s iconic rivers, estuaries and wetlands such as the Ramsar-listed Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands and other important rivers and creeks such as the Bunyip, Steele, Merri, Darebin, Gardiners, Dandenong and Kananook creeks,” he said.

“Building the Strategy involved a two year collaboration with 630 people across 220 different organisations who developed shared 50-year goals and contributed more than 2600 individual suggestions for improvement that guided the Strategy.

“This unprecedented level of collaboration helped us to identify what we collectively value most about our waterways so we could prioritise our management actions and objectives for the next 10 years.

“This work has truly been a collaborative effort and is essential to protect our waterways that are places of significance for Traditional Owners, communities and biodiversity and also drive Victoria’s economic productivity,” Mr Wandmaker said.

The Strategy also sets out ambitious targets for improvement, such as the capture and beneficial reuse of more than 80 billion litres of stormwater per year.

The new Healthy Waterways Strategy will drive how all those who have a role in waterway management, including Melbourne Water, Councils, community groups and government agencies work together to ensure the waterway value to the community is protected and improved.

It brings together the knowledge, experience, passion and commitment of not only Melbourne Water staff but the community, nature groups, industry groups, individuals and governments.

The Strategy will help Melbourne Water and its partners to address community expectations and the obligations set out for waterway management in Water for Victoria, the Victorian Water Act 1989, Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, other relevant State and national legislation and policies, and international agreements.

Melbourne Water’s new Healthy Waterways Strategy can be found here.

For updates on progress of the Strategy and information about how the community and agencies can become involved in the collaborative implementation of the Strategy please go to Melbourne Water’s Your Say page - https://yoursay.melbournewater.com.au/healthy-waterways