Acting Minister for Environment and Climate Change Peter Walsh
Victoria’s Environmental Water Under New Management
Victor P Taffa
Use of Victoria’s environmental water entitlements will become more efficient, transparent and accountable thanks to the creation of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH).
The Water Holder, which met for the first time yesterday, is Victoria’s new independent body for holding and managing the state’s environmental water entitlements.
Acting Minister for Environment and Climate Change Peter Walsh said the body would help ensure environmental water management in Victoria continued to become more efficient while achieving improved environmental benefits.
“The creation of the Water Holder marks an important milestone in a new direction for environmental water management in Victoria.” Mr. Walsh said.
“This is an important step in achieving better outcomes for the state’s rivers and wetlands.”
The VEWH is made up of three part-time commissioners, supported by a small operations team.
“VEWH commissioners Denis Flett (chair), Geoff Hocking (deputy chair) and Ian Penrose bring a great mix of knowledge and skills to environmental and sustainable water management.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Their first task will be to develop a seasonal watering plan, which will outline the scope for environmental watering activities across Victoria in 2011-12.
“In developing and implementing the plan the VEWH will work closely with catchment management authorities and Melbourne Water to identify local environmental watering priorities.” Mr. Walsh said.
The main responsibilities of the VEWH are to:
- Hold and manage environmental water entitlements and allocations;
- Co-ordinate the delivery of Victorian environmental water allocations with those of other environmental entitlement holders to maximise benefits to the environment;
- Ensure that environmental water management continues to become more efficient, getting greater environmental benefits from fewer resources;
- Make adaptive, responsive and timely decisions about where and when environmental water is delivered;
- Manage environmental water entitlements in a way that optimises environmental benefits, reducing the need for government investment in water recovery;
- Examine opportunities for trading water allocations and entitlements, but only where there this optimises benefits to the environment;
- Draw on the environmental watering priorities identified by catchment management authorities in consultation with their local communities, to identify the highest statewide priorities;
- Report on when, where, how and why environmental water entitlements have been used.