Victoria needs a fresh approach if it is to become a leader in protecting its rivers and saving and reusing water, according to Environment Victoria’s new report released today.
The report, Six Steps to Water Leadership: A pathway to healthy rivers and sustainable water use, outlines how the Andrews Government can restore Victoria’s rivers and wetlands, create water-smart cities and towns and ensure our water resources are managed sustainably in a drier future due to climate change.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Nick Roberts said today:
“Victoria’s rivers are in crisis, with just 23 per cent in good condition. Victoria needs a new approach to managing our precious water resources. For years, the environmental importance of rivers has been sidelined while priority has been given to costly water infrastructure projects with uncertain outcomes. This ‘hard hat’ approach to water and rivers has failed to stem the ongoing decline of our rivers and wetlands.
“The good news is that, for the first time in seven years, Victoria has a Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. The challenge is now to put the environmental focus back into water. This will mean taking less water from rivers for big water users, and helping our cities and towns to capture stormwater and reuse waste water.
“El Nino and climate change will reduce rainfall across Victoria, placing even greater pressure on our rivers and wetlands. The Andrews Government has consistently stated it intends to make Victoria a leader on climate change and environmental protection, and there is no time to lose.
“The Andrews government can learn from past mistakes and deliver a water plan that makes Victoria a world leader. With a change of focus and investment, Melbourne and regional Victorian towns and cities can become modern, 21st century water-smart cities.
“Whilst previous Victorian governments have weakened protections for rivers and management of water, the Andrews government now has an opportunity to turn around decades of neglect and restore and protect our rivers and water supplies for future generations.
“The Andrews government has started developing a new Victorian Water Plan, and we’ll be looking to ensure this plan delivers a strong environment focus on rivers and water across Victoria.
“Improving the health of our waterways and catchments will support jobs and economic productivity. Reducing pressure on our stressed rivers means healthier rivers, more community recreation and enjoyment of the natural environment, and is fundamental to Victoria’s liveability, health and wellbeing.”
Nick Roberts, Campaigns Director, 0429 945 429