While you may think it’s been raining buckets recently, some parts of Victoria are experiencing their driest two year period on record.
It’s another sign of the almighty squeeze being faced by our rivers – climate change is reducing rainfall and water availability at the same time that population growth and agricultural expansion are pushing up demand for water.
The health of our rivers is the jam in the sandwich.
Desperate times call for a bold new vision that has the support of the community. Over the last few months we’ve been talking about the things that need to happen to make our rivers healthier and water use in Victoria more sustainable. We wrote a draft report and consulted widely to seek your input, with over 100 people contributing ideas.
Last week we launched the finished product, the Aquaprint : A community vision for water reform in Victoria.
Improving the health of our waterways and catchments and sustaining our natural capital is fundamental to supporting jobs and economic productivity and to enhancing Victoria’s liveability, health and wellbeing. The Aquaprint sets out nine key steps to more sustainable water use and healthy rivers. These steps are:
1.Community education for water literacy
2.Reforming the Victorian Water Act to:
3.A Murray-Darling Basin Plan that restores our rivers, wetlands and national parks
4.A transition plan for agriculture
5.A state-wide plan for water smart towns and cities
6.An independent investigation into the status and management of freshwater dependent ecosystems
7.Reconnecting river corridors and restoring river banks
8.Improving water quality
9.Secure funding for sustainable water management.
You can read all about it here >
The Andrews Government aspires to be a leader in environmental policy, and water management presents it with both a great challenge and a huge opportunity. It is currently working on a State Water Plan which is due for completion in the next few weeks.
The Aquaprint provides it with some of the right tools – an environmentally focused Water Act, a robust Murray-Darling Basin Plan and integrated water cycle management across all our catchments. A successful plan needs an engaged and water literate community and innovation to make our cities and agriculture truly water smart. It requires strong leadership from our government.
We submitted the Aquaprint for consideration in the Water Plan process and have been working with the Government to embed some of our ideas in their plan.
You can help maximise the impact of the Aquaprint on the government’s plan by calling or emailing your MP. Draw their attention to the Aquaprint and say that you want to see the nine key actions carried out through the Water Plan. Or pick your favourite action and tell them about that one and why it is important to you!
You can also email Water Minister Lisa Neville at Lisa.Neville@parliament.vic.gov.au
The other thing we would love you to do with the Aquaprint is share it with your friends, family and community groups. It’s a community vision and that’s where it needs to go – back to the community! Please share it with as many people as possible.
If you’d like to organise a presentation to your community group, please get in touch – we’d love to come and talk about it.