Delivering a healthy working Basin for Australia: Wodonga and north-east Victoria, Victoria
Program: Strengthening Basin Communities
Funding recipient: City of Wodonga Consortium
Water for the Future funding $800,000
Project commencement: February 2010
Project completion: December 2011
The north-east region of Victoria comprises only 2 per cent of the geographic area of the Murray-Darling Basin, yet the region's water resources contribute around 40 per cent of the water in the Murray Darling Basin system.
A new project funded by the Australian Government's Strengthening Basin Communities program is playing a vital role in addressing north-east Australia's water resources.
Lake Hume is 16kms east of Albury-Wodonga -
it is the biggest reservoir in North East Victoria.
"Climate change doesn't always mean less water – sometimes it can mean more water," North East Greenhouse Alliance executive officer Nikki Scott said. "So the concept of risk is an important issue in this project."
"We want to understand the impact climate variability has on water resources, and build up a good understanding of the associated risks. We will then develop an action plan to reduce those risks and make the most of opportunities."
The project involves a consortium of the City of Wodonga, Rural City of Wangaratta, Alpine Shire Council, Indigo Shire Council, Towong Shire Council, North East Water, Goulburn-Murray Water and North East Catchment Management Authority. It is being managed and directed by the North East Greenhouse Alliance.
"We're running the project in three phases," Nikki said. "We've completed phases one and two, setting up our background data and context; and carrying out climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning."
"We're now moving into phase three, which will implement the adaptation plan."
The project looks at a range of responses to climate change, including corporate governance, engineering, social and economic actions.
"We're revising our existing plans and strategies, and looking at ways to integrate climate change considerations into the policiesand activities of our partnering organisations."
"The social component of the project uses community based social marketing concepts to help us understand and analyse attitudes, behaviours, capacity and barriers to implementing adaptation actions," Nikki said. "We're also conducting a skills gap and training needs analysis for agency staff with water resource management and planning responsibilities."
"The engineering element includes analysing what others, including councils and overseas organisations, have done to respond to water infrastructure issues. Case studies are also being developed for areas where supply is under threat and for new and existing estates."
"Our focus is on knowledge, awareness and planning as well as a collaborative approach."
"This project will help develop good corporate governance, socioeconomic and engineering responses to adapt to a future with variable water resources."
Governments at all levels are working with Basin communities to achieve a healthy river system that supports strong and viable communities. Central to this is the strengthened involvement of local communities in the design and roll out of government programs.
The Australian Government is also committed to 'bridging the gap' between current water diversions and any final sustainable diversion limits in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, through water savings generated by infrastructure investments and voluntary water purchases.
Lake Hume and the Mitta River, located
east of Albury-Wodonga
A reliable water supply is needed to
ensure sporting fields in north-east
Victoria remain healthy