Creating a water sensitive Victoria
Victoria’s capital city is Melbourne – often voted the world’s most liveable city. Water is essential to Melbourne’s liveability and to that of other cities and towns across the State.
Over the last decade, urban water cycle management has evolved rapidly in these urban areas, largely brought about by prolonged drought in between 1997 and 2006 – a time that highlighted the vulnerability of water resources to a changing and variable climate. Responses to this ranged from community action through water conservation behaviours to government investment in desalination and recycled water, to broaden the portfolio of water sources for drinking and non-drinking uses respectively.
Mitigation of climate change has not been ignored. Melbourne’s two major wastewater treatment plants recover significant amounts of resources from the wastewater to generate renewable energy and biosolids.
Victoria is also recognised internationally for its waterway management programs and water sensitive urban design. The later has seen local government join utilities as active participants in urban water cycle management. This integration of the water cycle – across water supply, wastewater, drainage, and waterway health and the agencies that manage each – is very much the focus of contemporary water policy and practice in Victoria.