Key contacts: farm water
Listed below is information, websites and contact details for Victorian farmers and those working with farmers on relevant agencies relating to farm water planning and management. It is particularly relevant for farmers capturing water from streams and rainfall into dams for stock and domestic purposes.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) develops water policy and water corporations administer this policy on their behalf. Other state and local government agencies such as Catchment Management Authorities also play a role, depending on the location and the issue.
The DSE water website provides details relevant to farms at www.water.vic.gov.au/saving/farms. This includes information and resources on dams, bores, groundwater and irrigation. An excellent publication is Your dam, your responsibility www.water.vic.gov.au/saving/farms/dams.
There is also information on water allocations and trading on the site at www.water.vic.gov.au/allocation. Sustainable water strategies have recently been developed on a regional basis. They provide a summary of the state of the water resources in each region and current or emerging policies.
The strategies can be accessed at www.water.vic.gov.au/programs/sws.
Rural water corporations are responsible for managing and licensing the use of water in rural areas. They deliver water to irrigators in irrigation districts, harvest bulk water for rural and urban use, and licence and monitor extractions from most surface and groundwater systems. They also licence the construction of farm dams and groundwater bores across the region. They are the first port of call to enquire about farm water licensing. Go to www.water.vic.gov.au/governance/water-corporations/your_local_water_corporation for contact details or find listed below.
This website has extensive information on water management including "Who does what with water in Victoria" in the Customer Information section, explanations and applications for groundwater, surface water, dams and bores in the On the Land section and Fact Sheets in the News/Publications section.
The SRW Fact Sheet "Water for my rural property – Do I need a licence?" provides a useful overview.
For any questions on licensing or how to contact your local field officer phone 1300 139 510 and the reception staff will direct you to the appropriate person.
This website provides information about water storage levels, use of water for irrigation and allocations. The head office at Tatura can be contacted on phone (03) 5826 3500.
GWMWater has produced the "On-Farm Water Reticulation Guide" for landholders plus other information on farm water use and storage. Phone 1300 659 961.
LMW provides the region with urban water and wastewater services, treatment and effluent disposal services, river quality water to stock and irrigation customers, along with the collection and disposal of subsurface irrigation drainage water. Phone: (03) 5051 3400.
Phone 131 722 for questions on surface water licensing in the Yarra and Maribyrnong waterways.
Regional Urban and Metropolitan Water Corporations supply treated drinking water to homes in a city or town through a reticulated system. They also manage wastewater and recycled water from a city or town. They often have rural clients as well. Some such as South Gippsland Water are actively encouraging farmers to become independent of town water supplies.
To find local corporations, go to www.water.vic.gov.au/governance/water-corporations/your_local_water_corporation.
Catchment Management Authority's (CMA's) manage the health of waterways by ensuring that work on waterways are properly designed and don't adversely affect the stability of a waterway or impact upon water quality or flow. In accordance with the Water Act 1989 and the CMA Waterway Protection By-law any works or activities in, on, or over a designated waterway must have approval from the appropriate CMA through a Works on Waterways Permit.
The types of work that require approval include, but are not limited to, crossings, deviations, extractions, stabilisation, revegetation, and vegetation removal. Contact your CMA for the steps involved. Look them up in the phone book or check the website www.water.vic.gov.au/governance/catchment_management_authorities/your_local_cma for the CMA relevant to your area.
CMA's often have information brochures available. For example West and East Gippsland CMA's have a river restoration program which helps farmers exclude stock from waterways and develop off stream watering points. See brochures on www.wgcma.vic.gov.au under Floodplain Management and Rural Drainage or phone 1300 094 262 for a copy.
Local government manage stormwater from cities and towns. They may have planning requirements such as for building a dam, that you need to be aware of. Find your local government contacts.
Carting Water can be arranged through local councils who manage emergency supply bores and urban water corporations who have standpipes and metered filling points. For more information go to www.water.vic.gov.au/saving/farms/emergency-supply/
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) monitors and reports on water quality. It helps to protect Victoria's water environments from threats such as high levels of silt, nutrients, salts and chemicals and does this through a number of mechanisms including environmental laws, policies
and regulatory controls. For more information check the website
www.epa.vic.gov.au, phone 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) or check the phone book for a local contact.
The Department of Health manages human health issues relating to drinking water. Go to www.health.vic.gov.au or phone 1300 253 942 for information on the use of treated and untreated drinking water, the use of rainwater tanks for private drinking water and other human health issues relating to water use.
The Victorian Resources Online section also provides information on water resource management.
Waterwatch can help you understand more about the quality of water in your area, and you can find your local group on www.vic.waterwatch.org.au/
The department's Climate Change project team also have a webpage with further resources and ideas in adapting the farm business to more variable rainfall, as well as the team's contact details.
The Bureau of Meteorology has extensive information on rainfall, evaporation and outlooks on their website www.bom.gov.au or phone (03) 9669 4000. There is a specific section called Water and the Land for Primary Industries and Natural Resource Management.
Training in Farm Water Management is available through registered training providers. Contact the relevant organisations for details.
FarmPlan21 is a nationally accredited course offered in a group learning environment. It provides you with the confidence and knowledge to make informed decisions for your farm.
Save Water provides information on saving water in the home, garden, business and agriculture.