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The solution for healthy rivers

Victoria’s rivers are the jewel in our state crown. They provide us with the water we drink, and are the lifeblood of our ecosystems and communities. We can’t live without them.

So it can be disheartening to hear that they are under more stress now than ever before.

After more than a decade of drought, most people now know about the plight of Victoria’s rivers. But even before climate change became front page news, our rivers were in trouble.

The problem is, once the droughts break and water is flowing again, people – especially politicians – lose the motivation to act to keep our rivers healthy in the long term.

The Millenium drought ended in 2009 and was followed by one of the strongest La Niña events in history and record-breaking floods across Victoria in 2010/11.

But drought is returning to Victoria. Much of western Victoria has had a severe rainfall deficit in the last two years, with some areas receiving the lowest rainfall on record.

Coupled with steadily rising temperatures due to climate change and growing population, the pressure is back on for urgent water reform.

Actions required to protect our lifeblood

Our rivers are adapted to floods and droughts and are naturally resilient, and their birds, fish and trees have staged a remarkable comeback after the Millenium drought. But in the face of ongoing and escalating threats, we need an agenda for change before the damage becomes irreparable.

Some solutions apply right across the state – all our rivers could benefit from fairer sharing of water, more landscape connectivity, better water quality and assured water quantity.

  1. More water for our rivers
  2. Fairer sharing of water resources
  3. A Murray-Darling Basin Plan that restores our wetlands and national park
  4. Sustainable irrigation
  5. A state-wide plan for water smart towns and cities
  6. Reconnecting river corridors and restoring river banks
  7. Industry uses less water
  8. More protected areas

You can get all the details in Aquaprint, a community-led vision for water reform in Victoria.

Find out more

Across Victoria thousands of people are coming together to fight for our rivers. From city dwellers and environmentalists, to businesses and irrigators, Victorians want to do more to use water wisely. We also want to create water supply systems for our agriculture and our cities that contribute to the restoration of our rivers, and not their destruction.

Now more than ever, we need a strong voice in support of water for our environment. We need to ensure that our rivers survive the fight over resources and thrive in a rapidly changing climate. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer an option.

That’s why Environment Victoria is working with people from all over the state to realise our vision of a healthy rivers future. We want rivers that sustain abundant life and prosperous communities. And that provide us with good food, clean water and places to love and enjoy.

We’re already making a difference

Over the last few years, Environment Victoria has earned a reputation as a credible, respected and important stakeholder in Victorian water management and river health. We’ve raised the public profile of river and water management issues and influenced policy to protect and restore our state’s waterways. We’ve also built and cultivated a network of river champions across the state.

Find out more about our successes here.

Be part of the solution

Imagine a future where rivers are healthy. That's the future we're working towards. Sign up to find out more about what you can do for our rivers!