Catchments and Waterways

River and waterway frontages form an important part of the Conservation Area. The Conservation Area will help protect significant biodiversity and ecological values through the rehabilitation of stream frontages and the creation of vital habitat links for critically endangered species. A coordinated strategic management approach within the Conservation Area will improve water quality and river health. Healthy riparian land provides for preservation of cultural values, stability for river bed and banks, a filter for nutrient / sediments from catchment runoff and a supply of organic matter to support aquatic species. Threats to waterways and riparian land include any activity that may adversely affect these attributes.

Catchments and Waterways Management

Our Catchments, Our Communities defines the Victorian Government’s commitment to managing catchments for the benefit of the environment, community, and economy. It focuses on the management of Victoria’s natural resources by ensuring catchment management partners work better together and complements Victoria’s new directions for biodiversity and climate change, and supports the implementation of Water for Victoria as detailed in Improving Our Waterways: Victorian Waterway Management Strategy. The Yarra River Action Plan brings together water, environment and planning portfolios and adopts a strategic approach to managing the whole Yarra River.

The Catchment Condition and Management Report provides a Victoria wide assessment of catchment condition, progress and projects including the Port Phillip region in which the Yellingbo Conservation Area (YCA)is situated.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

DELWP is responsible for establishing the state policy framework for waterway management. The Victorian Waterway Management Program is a partnership between the Victorian Government, regional agencies and authorities, other management partners including Traditional Owners, and local communities. The program aims to maintain or improve the condition of Victoria’s waterways to ensure they can continue to provide environmental, social, cultural and economic values both now and into the future.

Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA)

The Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA) is one of ten regional Catchment Management Authorities in the state of Victoria. It was established in 2002 as the peak natural resource management body in the Port Phillip and Western Port region to develop and oversee the implementation of the Regional Catchment Strategy. The PPWCMA’s vision is to have healthy and resilient ecosystems, catchments and bays in the region, which provide a major contribution to this region being an attractive and prosperous place to live, work and visit. The PPWCMA works primarily with government departments, councils, water authorities, non-government environmental organisations and community groups to protect and enhance the natural resources within the region. At the local level, the PPWCMA helps landholders improve their knowledge, skills and practices and works with the broader public to increase participation in environmental conservation and gain their input on important environmental issues.

Yarra4Life is a collaborative environmental program that aims to improve the quality of land, water and natural habitat in the Yarra Valley and to help protect and enhance the survival of native species in the region. Coordinated by the PPWCMA, the Yarra4Life program is a collaborative partnership with representatives from local government, state government, land managers, traditional owners and community groups. Yarra4Life plans, coordinates and delivers cross-tenure land management projects that improve habitat across the Yarra4Life landscape and provides opportunities to coordinate and connect works, and a forum to share collective knowledge. The program aims to builds connections between our community and the environment, and works with Traditional Owners and incorporate their goals and aspirations for participation in natural resource management into Yarra4Life activities.

Community Grants: The PPWCMA plays a key role in the coordination and administration of environmental funding within the Port Phillip and Western Port region. Each year the PPWCMA offers grants to Landcare groups and networks, community groups and volunteer-based organisations to support the important work they undertake in the region to protect environmental assets, address priority issues and improve the health of the region.  The PPWCMA administers the Victorian Landcare Grants Program (on behalf of the Victorian Government) and the delivery of funding through the National Landcare Program. They also monitor and evaluate the environmental impact of projects and report on their outcomes.

Melbourne Water

Melbourne Water is the regional waterways management authority for the Port Phillip and Westernport Region and is responsible for the regional implementation of the Victorian Waterway Management Program. Melbourne Water protect and manage Melbourne’s important water assets on behalf of the community including 8,680 kilometres of rivers and creeks that flow into Port Phillip Bay or Westernport, drinking water, reservoirs, catchments, sewerage, recycled water, drainage systems, flooding, and community use of land.

Melbourne Water is responsible for creating long-term plans that ensure the region’s waterways are healthy, liveable and accessible into the future. During 2017/2018 Melbourne Water have conducted/will be conducting extensive consultations with local councils, community groups, state government, environmental groups, developer groups and interested organisations to gather input into a 10-year strategic plan the Healthy Waterways Strategy (2018-2028) .

The objectives of the consultation process are to:

  • develop a vision and goals for the Maribyrnong, Werribee, Dandenong, Yarra and Westernport catchments:
  • explore issues, opportunities and aspirations for everyone within each catchment;
  • identify where Melbourne Water and our stakeholders need to focus our efforts and energy.

The Draft Healthy Waterways Strategy was released for community and stakeholder review and feedback up until 22 July 2018. See also Yarra. Working Together for Healthy Waterways. Catchment Works Program to support the draft Healthy Waterways Strategy. The waterways strategy will be finalised in October 2018. See Melbourne Waterways ‘yoursay‘ for updated information.

Yellingbo Conservation Area (YCA)

The Yellingbo Conservation Area is located within the Yarra Catchment which covers an area of about 4,046 square kilometres. Of relevance to the Yellingbo Conservation Area (YCA) is the strategic plan for the Yarra Catchment – see Healthy Waterways Strategy – Yarra Catchment Preliminary Targets and Healthy Waterways Strategy – Targets and Performance Objectives

Funding Programs

The Melbourne Water River Health Incentives Program (RHIP) is celebrating 21 years of partnership with landowners, local government, Parks Victoria and community groups, providing funding and technical support to improve the condition of waterways in the region. Since the Program began 21 years ago, it has facilitated more than 12,000 environmental projects across Melbourne’s waterways and has worked with over 230 community groups, 38 councils and 4,300 individuals to improve the environmental health of Melbourne’s rivers and creeks.[1]

RHIP consists of four different program types, suited to different landholders to deliver different waterway health outcomes. The four programs are:

[1] The Catchment Condition and Management Report – pg.116

Waterways and Agriculture

It is recognised that waterways can provide a valuable water resource for agriculture. However, direct livestock access to waterways has a significant impact on the banks of rivers and creeks, vegetation, and water quality. Consequently direct livestock access to waterways is being phased out entirely in the Conservation Area and fencing will be required along public land riparian frontages. Once the Crown land frontage is fenced livestock will no longer have direct access to the waterway. This change may have implications for how properties are managed.

Water for domestic and livestock purposes

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Frequently Asked Questions

We know you might have some questions. Here are some of the most common questions that we receive.

My livestock currently access and drink water from the river/creek. Will this be allowed to continue via a gap in the fencing? 

No. Direct livestock access to waterways does not align with the management objectives of the reserve areas due to the impact they have on the banks of rivers and creeks, vegetation, and water quality.

How will these changes affect my rights to water? How am I going to get water for my livestock?

Once the Crown land frontage is fenced livestock will no longer have direct access to the waterway.

Off-stream stock watering infrastructure (eg. troughs, pipes, header tanks) will be encouraged and funding assistance for this may be available through Melbourne Water’s Stream Frontage Management Program. If pumping from the waterway,  you will be required under the Water Act 1989 to obtain a take and use licence for domestic and stock purposes.

To assist with the transition, funding for fencing and off-stream stock watering is available to eligible landowners from the Melbourne Water Stream Frontage Management Program. Funding for this program is limited.

Visit the Melbourne Water website to find out more about the program.

Contact
Katie Drummond
Melbourne Water
131 722
catherine.drummond@melbournewater.com.au

 

What are my options for getting domestic and stock water?

There are several options for obtaining water for domestic and stock purposes:

Catchment runoff and roof water

Catchment runoff or roof water from the property can be captured into a tank or stock dam. This can be used for stock and domestic use free of charge and without a licence. Construction of new dams may require planning permits from your local council or approval from Melbourne Water.

Water from a bore

A person has the right to take water, free of charge and without a licence, for stock and domestic use from a bore on the land occupied by that person. Construction of the bore will require approval from Southern Rural Water.

Potable water supply

Potable water may be used for domestic and stock use where connections are available. Contact your water retailer, Yarra Valley Water, on 1300 651 511 for information on availability.

Licensed extraction from a waterway

Where access to a waterway can be obtained, a licence may be issued by Melbourne Water for the take and use of water for domestic and stock purposes, subject to the conditions of the licence including any condition that might limit the amount of water that may be used.

 

How do I get a domestic and stock licence?

Landholders who fence off the Crown land boundary  may make an application to Melbourne Water for a take and use licence. Issuing of a licence may be subject to the applicant obtaining relevant access to the waterway from the Crown land manager for the purposes of placing pumps and lines.

Landholders whose Crown land licence is being phased out may be eligible for a domestic and stock allocation to be granted to them. Landholders without historic licensed occupation of the Crown land will be required to purchase a licence allocation through trade with an existing licence holder.  Additional information around obtaining a water licence and water trading can be obtained from the Melbourne Water website or by phoning 13 17 22.

How much will a domestic and stock licence cost me?

Application fees and licensing fees may be waived for the first three years for eligible landholders whose Crown land licences are being phased out. After this time, annual licensing fees will apply. Fees are subject to inflation but the 2018/19 annual fee for a domestic and stock licence was $336.95. Landholders without historic licensed occupation of the Crown land will be required to pay licence application fees between $703 and $1,039 as well as the annual fees.

Resources

Catchments and Waterways

ACTS

Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (Vic) (Austrl). Retrieved from http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/LTObjSt1.nsf/d1a8d8a9bed958efca25761600042ef5/a6c08457004d6b0eca257761001b712e/$FILE/94-52a041.pdf.

Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017.  Retrieved from http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/PubStatbook.nsf/51dea49770555ea6ca256da4001b90cd/DD1ED871D7DF8661CA2581A700103BF0/$FILE/17-049aa%20authorised.pdf.

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