Greater Shepparton, Victoria
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2011
- Delivering a healthy working Basin for Australia - Water for the Future Local Story - Greater Shepparton, Victoria (PDF - 710 KB)
Program: Strengthening Basin Communities
Funding recipient: Greater Shepparton City Council
Water for the Future funding $200,000
Project commencement: March 2010
A positive outlook and an eye on future opportunities have guided Greater Shepparton City Council to undertake a project that looks at the potential impacts of climate change.
“Our project looked at council’s ability to adapt to climate change and reduced water availability through utilities and infrastructure works,” Caroline Smith, the council's economic development officer said.
Improving the health of rivers and waterways in the Shepparton region
“We formed a stakeholder reference panel, carried out climate change modelling and spent eight months running risk assessment workshops, followed by a period of public consultation.”
The strategy focuses on four themes: the regional economy; utilities infrastructure (transport, energy, water); community infrastructure (libraries, town halls, parks and gardens); and meeting community needs in the event that the climate and water availability change.
Caroline said that one of the big learnings to emerge was a general acceptance that varying weather conditions had seen the community develop innovative practices and ideas to adapt to the extremes experienced in recent years and to look at what the future may hold.
This has forced our community to adapt and look for opportunities and we can already see how resilient our community is. Looking at these strengths gives the whole project a positive outlook.”
The modelling and consultation found positives for the region, even under more difficult scenarios. The district’s population is predicted to continue growing and agencies are adopting policies and programs to reduce the risks to the region’s utilities infrastructure.
Council and other service providers have also made significant changes to their operations and procedures as a result of hot, dry weather and lower water availability.
“We’ve identified areas where we can bolster the economy so that we're not solely reliant on the industries that are worst effected by drought,” Caroline said.
“At a practical level we’re also looking at how we manage parks, gardens, pools and recreational facilities, to meet community needs with the resources we have.”
“Council has broadened its considerations of what climate change may mean for the organisation, the community and the region. The Greater Shepparton strategy is the start of an ongoing plan to embed climate change risks into forward planning for Council and other organisations.”
The project was funded through the Australian Government’s Strengthening Basin Communities program.
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.
For further information about the Greater Shepparton City Council’s Integrated Planning for a Sustainable Shepparton Community Strategy visit www.greatershepparton.com.au or call (03) 5832 9700.
Lake Aquamoves Skatepark, Shepparton
Thriving gardens in Shepparton