Page 13 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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1.1.6 How does the Victorian environmental watering program fit within broader integrated catchment and waterway management?
The environmental watering program fits within broader Victorian Government policies for integrated catchment management: it is a holistic way of managing land, water and biodiversity from the top to the bottom of our catchments.
Key policy documents influencing the VEWH from a Victorian context include Water for Victoria, the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy and regional sustainable water strategies. Regional waterway strategies also determine priority waterways, in consultation with
local communities, and outline integrated waterway management actions.
Water for Victoria is a plan for a future with less water as Victoria responds to the impacts of climate change and
a growing population. The actions in the plan support
a healthy environment, a prosperous economy with
growing agricultural production and thriving communities. Implementing the actions in the plan will improve the operation of the water and catchment management sector including the VEWH. Water for Victoria recognises that protecting and improving waterway health is a long-term commitment that needs coordinated action. The full benefits of strategic, long-term investments in waterway health may not be realised for 30 years or more. Water for Victoria identifies 36 priority waterways for large-scale projects over this timeframe, and environmental flows are planned for many of these waterways in this seasonal watering plan.
Complementary catchment management activities are
often needed to achieve environmental watering outcomes. These include invasive species control, riparian (streamside) land management, sustainable agriculture, sustainable land use planning and development, integrated urban water management and other waterway management activities (such as providing fish passage and improved in-stream habitat, for example through large, woody habitat). A lack
of fish passage due to dams and weirs continues to be a problem in some Victorian rivers, where environmental flows aim to increase the breeding success and recruitment of native fish. Figure 1.1.2 shows examples of complementary waterway management activities in Victorian waterways that receive water for the environment.
In most systems, environmental flows are delivered using existing infrastructure (such as dam outlet gates and water supply channels) built for and still used for the supply of water for irrigators, industries and communities. Permanent and temporary pumps are sometimes also used to deliver water for the environment to wetlands. Capacity limits with these types of infrastructure and the need to avoid flooding private land restrict the size and timing of releases of water for the environment. In some systems, these restrictions mean only a fraction of the required environmental flows can be released into waterways, which significantly reduces the environmental outcomes that can be achieved.
Victoria’s environmental watering program is integral to the success of the following three strategies and plans.
Our Catchments, Our Communities is Victoria’s first statewide strategy for integrated catchment management. Its aims are more effective community engagement, better connections between different levels of planning and stronger regional catchment strategies. The strategy also aims to clarify roles, strengthen accountabilities
and coordination and improve monitoring, evaluation
and reporting. Under this strategy, CMAs will lead 10
new integrated catchment management projects across the state, in collaboration with catchment management partners. The Caring for Campaspe and Living Moorabool projects are two projects involving environmental
watering actions.
Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 is
the plan to ensure Victoria has a modern and effective approach to protecting and managing Victoria’s biodiversity. Providing water for the environment is essential to supporting Victoria’s biodiversity. The plan is being implemented together with the outcomes of reviews of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and Victoria’s native vegetation clearing regulations.
The Basin Plan 2012 for the Murray-Darling Basin is another key reform influencing the VEWH’s operations, particularly its planning and reporting framework in northern and western Victorian systems that form part of the basin. The VEWH continues to work closely with the Victorian Government and other agencies to implement the Basin Plan.
1.1 The Victorian environmental watering program
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