Council contributes to water strategy review

Published on 27 September 2018

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A Surf Coast Shire Council submission to the Victorian Government’s Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy Review highlights environmental needs of the Barwon River and suggests greater community involvement in water management.

Council resolved at its 25 September meeting to receive and note the submission, which acknowledges strategy achievements and outlines ongoing concerns.

The Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy was released with a 50-year outlook in 2006 and updated in 2007. It is required to be reviewed at least every 10 years.

Council’s submission welcomes increased environmental flows to the Barwon River and transfer of part of Barwon Water’s West Barwon Reservoir entitlements, but expresses concern that allocations might not be sufficient to meet the environmental needs of the river.

“Inadequate environmental flows for the Barwon River remain a significant concern for the Winchelsea community,” the submission says.

“Council believes that this issue needs to be addressed in partnership with the community, together with consideration of any potential future trade-offs.”

Council’s submission supports strategy achievements and commitments in use of recycled water.

It emphasises that development of recycled water infrastructure and use of recycled water are strategic objectives in the Surf Coast Shire Council Plan 2017-21, Council’s Draft Hinterland Strategy and the G21 region agribusiness plan.

“In addition to supporting the development of wastewater and recycled water infrastructure, Council will be working in partnership with Barwon Water to explore potential use of recycled water to support agricultural and agri-tourism development in the hinterland, particularly in the vicinity of Black Rock and Winchelsea water reclamation plants,” the submission says.

It also noted that although the Anglesea River is not within the scope of the strategy, the health of the river is a concern to the Anglesea community.

Council’s submission supported consideration of greater community involvement, and use of local knowledge, in water management.

“The high level of community interest in the health of waterways in the shire, including the Barwon and Anglesea rivers, demonstrates local communities want greater, ongoing involvement in water management,” it says.

Mayor David Bell said Council welcomed opportunity to contribute to the important strategy review.

“Securing of regional water supply is essential for helping our community and environment to thrive,” Cr Bell said.

“It is critically important that we reflect the views of our communities, particularly when significant concerns exist.”

The Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy review, by the Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning, is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.