Victoria’s population is set to crack 10 million by 2050, but water feeding into catchments could decrease by as much as 40% by then. With this in mind, the Victorian Government is implementing strategies to boost the state’s water security and get on the front foot.
While the state’s population will reach almost twice its current size in a few decades it will also have to contend with a hotter and drier climate, with less reliable rainfall due to climate change. As such, the Urban Water Strategies provided a detailed 50-year forecast of water demands for communities, along with supply options for how these will be met.
“As we deal with issues around climate change and population growth, we need to make sure our water management is prepared to meet these challenges – both now and for future generations,” said Minister for Water Lisa Neville.
“I want our water corporations and the whole sector to help Victoria adapt to climate change to ensure we can continue to support jobs, liveable communities and a healthy environment.”
The government has committed $537 million to combat these challenges under the Water for Victoria policy, which details strategies for adapting to climate change and population growth while looking after the environment and meeting water demands.
This funding will support climate research and adoption of renewable energy sources to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as improvements to environmental and waterway health. It will also go towards improving water management and efficiency in rural areas, agriculture and within water grids.
The Urban Water Strategies also recognised the extensive ecological knowledge of and significance of water to Aboriginal Victorians and Traditional Owners.
As such, the government has pledged $4.7 million for the development of an Aboriginal Water Plan to better understand Indigenous water knowledge and how it can help improve industry practices.
The plan is intended to be an innovative, sustainable and inclusive approach to supporting the environment, Victorian citizens and the economy.