Page 12 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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 1.1 The Victorian environmental watering program
How are Traditional Owners engaged in the environmental watering program?
Traditional Owners’ connections to Country are central
to their sense of identity and cultural continuity. Victoria’s waterways are an important part of Country, and Traditional Owners have successfully managed them for thousands
of years. Program partners increasingly look to incorporate Traditional Owners’ knowledge about how to manage waterways. For instance, in the northern region, Barapa Barapa and Wamba Wemba Traditional Owners work closely with North Central CMA to plan for and monitor environmental watering outcomes in Gunbower and Guttrum forests. In the western region, Barengi Gadjin Land Council has partnered with Wimmera CMA to deliver water for the environment to Ranch Billabong, which is a place of strong cultural significance.
Traditional Owners and their Nations in Victoria have a
deep and enduring connection to Victoria’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains, spanning tens of thousands of years.
The VEWH and its program partners recognise the intersection between environmental flow objectives and Aboriginal environmental outcomes and acknowledge the benefit of genuine, enduring partnerships with Aboriginal people in planning and managing water for the environment.
In many regions of Victoria, Traditional Owner Nations have strong relationships with the program partners, and they are working to better realise Aboriginal Victorians’ aspirations and to incorporate Traditional Owners and their objectives and knowledge into the management of environmental flows. These initiatives and ongoing contributions to the program are highlighted in the regional overviews in this seasonal watering plan.
There are certainly more opportunities for the VEWH and its partners to develop enduring partnerships with Traditional Owners who want to participate in the management of water for the environment. The VEWH and its program partners will continue to look for these opportunities
and endeavour to develop enduring partnerships with Traditional Owners. The VEWH is funding some projects to help waterway managers and Traditional Owners identify opportunities to better align environmental watering objectives and actions with Aboriginal objectives and to participate in managing water for the environment.
1.1.5 What is the role of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder?
The VEWH is a statutory authority established by the Victorian Government in 2011. It is responsible for managing Victoria’s water for the environment. Set up under the Water Act 1989, the VEWH manages environmental entitlements — a legal right to access a share of water available at a location — to improve the environmental values and health of Victoria’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains, and the plants and animals that rely on them.
The role of the VEWH is to:
• make decisions about the most effective use of the environmental entitlements including for use, carryover and trade (see subsection 1.4.2)
• commit water and authorise waterway managers to implement watering decisions (see subsection 1.3.2)
• work with storage managers, waterway managers and other environmental water holders to coordinate and optimise environmental outcomes from the delivery of all water (see section 1.4)
• commission targeted projects to demonstrate the ecological outcomes of environmental flows at key sites and to help improve the management of water for the environment
• publicly communicate environmental watering decisions and outcomes
• invest in complementary works and measures, knowledge, monitoring, research and other priority activities in collaboration with DELWP, where it improves the ability to manage water for the environment and the performance of the environmental watering program.
The VEWH has four part-time commissioners, who are supported by a small team. The commissioners at the time this seasonal watering plan was published were Chris Chesterfield (Chairperson), Peta Maddy (Deputy Chairperson), Rueben Berg (Commissioner) and Jennifer Fraser (Commissioner). Commissioners are appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister for Water.
     10 | Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21

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