New Water Strategy For Melbourne & Victoria

New Water Strategy For Melbourne & Victoria

Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh

Living Victoria Ministerial Advisory Council Named

Victor P Taffa

The Coalition Government has appointed a Ministerial Advisory Council charged with producing a roadmap for its new urban water strategy Living Melbourne, Living Victoria.

Minister for Water Peter Walsh today announced that four leading experts in the water sector and related fields, including urban planning and development, environment, energy, urban design and local government had been appointed to the council.

Led by Sustainability Victoria Chair and former BHP Billiton Chief Economist Mike Waller, the council also includes Melbourne Water’s out-going Managing Director Rob Skinner, Melbourne City Council’s Director of City Design Rob Adams and Strategies for Change Managing Director Sue Holliday.

“The council has been hard at work for several weeks and has already held a number of one-on-one consultations and roundtable discussions with key stakeholders.” Mr. Walsh said.

“The industry knowledge and experience of council members is proving to be a valuable asset as they undertake the development of the Living Victoria Roadmap.”

“Community and environmental groups, water industry members, Local Government and key Government Agencies are also playing a vital role in its development.” Mr. Walsh said.

Mr. Walsh said the council would deliver recommendations to guide the establishment of Melbourne as a world leader in integrated water cycle management and sustainability to make our urban landscape more amenable and liveable.

Living Victoria will drive change in how Melbourne uses stormwater, rainwater and wastewater to green our city and meet the challenges of a changing climate.” Mr. Walsh said.

“Each year more than 500 Billion litres of water runs off Melbourne’s impervious surfaces into Port Philip and Westernport bays, while another 300 Billion litres of wastewater is pumped from the Eastern Treatment Plant at Gunnamatta and Western Treatment Plant at Werribee out to sea.”

“We will use these resources to assist Victoria to meet its future water needs, revolutionising the way Melbourne provides its water services, cares for our natural environment, waterways, sporting ovals, streetscapes and urban parks and gardens.”

“I have asked the council to deliver a set of recommendations which will drive changes to planning, regulation, pricing, and government management to deliver a new set of minimum standards to make best practice management of water mandatory.” Mr. Walsh said.

Mr. Walsh said under Labor a web of bureaucracy and red tape had strangled innovation and revolutionary thinking.

“Labor has left Victoria with a legacy of large scale infrastructure such as the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant which has taken years to deliver, is costing billions of dollars and will at least double families’ water bills.” Mr. Walsh said.

“Living Victoria will include a strong focus on localised systems which are safe, reliable, inexpensive and can be delivered by the community or Government relatively quickly.”

Living Victoria Ministerial Advisory Council Chair Mike Waller said the council’s work would bring together people, government and industries to improve the city’s liveability through better water use and design.

“The council will deliver recommendations which will integrate the management of the city’s water cycle through urban planning, natural ecosystems and conservation.” Mr. Waller said.

“We will be looking at a wide range of options for change and experimentation, including harvesting and reusing rain from roofs and stormwater from hard surfaces in the urban environment using on-site storage, rain gardens and roof gardens, and wetlands to collect and filter the water for use by industry, Local Government and households.”

“Rather than pumping wastewater long distances only to dispose of it, we will be examining how wastewater can best be treated and re-used for non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets and watering gardens.”

Mr. Waller said the council’s work would draw heavily on the experience of existing projects to capture and recycle water, such as the Royal Park Wetlands constructed by the City of Melbourne, the City of Stonnington’s Como Park, and Manningham City Council’s Doncaster Hill Project.

The wetlands constructed at Royal Park harvest stormwater from nearby neighbourhoods, filtering and storing it in a habitat lake.

The water is then re-used on golf courses and playing fields, keeping Royal Park green all year round and providing recreational amenities for residents.

Manningham City Council is also delivering the redevelopment and densification of Doncaster Hill by capturing rainwater and stormwater, and re-using wastewater, locally planning and preparing for future growth today.

The Ministerial Advisory Council will deliver a report to the Minister by March 11 2011.