The state government has released its draft water resource plan for northern Victoria, which outlines how Victoria plans to meet its obligations under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan – but says few changes are needed.
The plan says the existing water management framework already meets most of the requirements of the basin plan for northern Victoria.
The plan proposes no immediate changes to water management in the region.
But it does propose the revision and improvement of some existing instruments, and responses to the objectives outlined by traditional owners.
The plan includes a list of objectives and outcomes determined by Dja Dja Wurrung members, with a goal of having the state government work directly with the commercial arm of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation to support a water unit.
The plan says this would be achieved through such measures as resourcing and funding, working towards self-determination and management of water on country, and developing environmental water plans that integrate cultural knowledge and Western science.
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan’s sustainable diversion limits – the amounts of water that can be taken for urban, industrial and agricultural use - come into effect from July 1 this year.
A long-term average annual volume of 2,750 gigalitres of water for the environment will be recovered across the basin.
About 40 per cent of this is Victoria’s share, of which 1052.3 gigalitres will come from the north and Murray water resource plan area.
The plan says this water is being recovered through purchase, infrastructure upgrades, and environmental works and measures.
The baseline diversion level of surface water for the Campaspe catchment is 153 gigalitres per year.
To achieve an environmentally sustainable level of diversion, there needs to be a local reduction of 18 gigalitres per year.
In the Loddon catchment, the baseline diversion level is 179 gigalitres per year, which requires a local reduction intake of 12 gigalitres per year to achieve an environmentally sustainable level of diversion.
The plan also identifies risks to the condition and availability of water.
Among those considered to be of highest or most common threat included climate change, extreme drought, farm dams, pests and weeds, and major asset failure.
A community information session will be held at the Capitol Theatre on Monday at 6pm.
Submissions on the draft plan are open until March 4.
For more information, including access to the report, visit engage.vic.gov.au.
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