Water in Victoria

Guide to Victorian and some Commonwealth resources on water.

Victorian water catchment authorities

These catchment management authorities together undertake co-ordinated water management activities, are responsible for the health of water systems in their region and the minimization of flood risk. They are also charged with preserving natural features of the floodplain.

There are 10 listed at the website of Water Industry & Governance. A map of these authorities and corresponding regions is also available.

Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
Glenelg Hopkins CMA
Goulburn Broken CMA
Mallee CMA
North Central CMA
North East CMA
Port Phillip and Westernport CMA
West Gippsland CMA
Wimmera CMA
There are 19 state-owned water businesses:

Barwon Water    Goulburn Valley Water South Gippsland Water
Central Highlands Water Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Wannon Water
City West Water * Lower Murray Water Westernport Water
Coliban Water Melbourne Water * Western Water
East Gippsland Water Northeast Water Yarra Valley Water *
Gippsland Water Southern Rural Water
Goulburn-Murray Water South East Water *

* These businesses cover the Melbourne Metropolitan area


Water pricing for the period 2013-2018 is under review. The community can view proposed service and prices for many of Victoria's water authorities at the website of the Essential Services Commmission.


Between 1905 and 1984, the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission was a Victorian Government authority that was responsible for managing all Victorian rural water bodies and irrigation schemes. The State Library of Victoria holds many resources of this authority, including a large collection of images.

Eildon Dam

[Water over spillway during construction of original Eildon Dam, 1927]

State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, RWP/A2.17-30


Water industry organisations

Victorian Water Industry Association. Peak industry body for water businesses in Victoria.

Australian Water Association (AWA). Of particular interest is their journal, "Water: official journal of the Australian Water and Wastewater Association". The current issue is available on their website. The State Library of Victoria holds both electronic and hard copy versions of this journal.

Water Services Association of Australia. Peak industry body for urban water utilities.

Water Industry Operators Association. National association which facilitates information exchange between people with operational roles in the water industry.

Government bodies

National Water Commission
An independent statutory authority within the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts portfolio. Responsible for primary analysis and reporting of water reform matters involving urban water, water industry performance, water pricing, water registers, water accounting, water markets and trading, sustainable irrigation and structural adjustment. The group has the lead role in delivering the $250 million Raising National Water Standards Program with specific responsibility for implementing the National Groundwater Action Plan.

Melbourne Water
This corporation is owned by the Victorian government. It is responsible for the management of Melbourne's water supply catchments, the treatment and supply of drinking water, the treatment and removal of most of Melbourne’s sewage, the supply of recycled water for non-drinking purposes and the management of rivers and creeks and major drainage systems throughout the Port Phillip and Westernport region.
Information on water storage levels and water consumption is available on this website. Melbourne Water produced the 2009 Water Plan.
The Melbourne Water Climate Change Study published in 2005 studied the implications of how climate change would affect the city's water resources.
The Port Phillip and Westernport region faces big challenges in flood management and drainage. A strategic plan was published outlining actions to improve the management of flood risk.
Essential Services Commission
Victoria’s independent economic regulator of essential services supplied by electricity, gas, water, sewerage, ports and rail freight.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (Victoria)
This is the government agency that is responsible for the sustainable management of Victoria's water, land, climate and environmental resources. There is a great deal of useful data on their website such as interactive maps. In particular, Victorian Water Resources, integrates water-related data from sources such at the State Hydrographic network, Victorian Water Quality Monitoring Network, Waterwatch Victoria and the Department of Primary Industries, among others. First released in 2003, the latest version is dated April 2006. The Department also hosts the Victorian Water Resource Data Warehouse which gives raw and summary data on water quality and quantity throughout Victoria. It also provides access to published documents based on this data.

Waterwatch Victoria
The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment set up this program of community engagement to connect local communities with water issues. This website provides key data over a long time frame on the health of Victorian waterways. Details available include physical and chemical data, oxygen levels, salinity, pH levels, phosphorus, turbdity and water temperature.

Catalogue searching

Information on many water authorities is available within their annual reports. To search for these resources in our catalogue  type in the words annual report water. Use the options on the left hand side of the page to narrow your search.

For more specific searching, include the name of the water authority, such as State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (also the more recent name Rural Water Commission).

An important work published by the Rural Water Commission in 1990 is Victorian surface water information to 1987, published in 4 volumes. This provides the most comprehensive statistics of stream flows over a long period of time.

Victorian Year books which were published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics between 1873 and 2002 are another useful source of information on water. Issues of the Victorian Year Book 1903-2002 can be viewed online.  Information such as past water storage capacities, river and catchment inflows, floods, droughts and water use are available in these year books.

Victorian Year Book 1934-35 p.396

Victorian Year Book 1934-35, 55th issue, page 396.

Electronic resources

To search our electronic databases for information, you will need to be a registered user of the library, with a Victorian address. This will give you remote access to a selection of databases. To access them, visit our website at the access from home page and make a selection from multi-subject databases. Try any of these databases, particularly the Informit Core Collection. This includes subsets such as Agriculture and Natural Resources Index, Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Archive, Australia’s Natural Resources Database. Use keywords such as water management, water catchment or water governance.

Other resources worth searching are listed under multi-subject databases and include Ebscohost, General OneFile and Proquest.

Newspaper articles

You can also access news articles from a remote location if you’re registered as a Victorian user with us. From our website, select Newspapers. Proquest Australia and New Zealand Newsstand and Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre via Ebsco are 2 major newspaper databases that we subscribe to. These newspaper databases have content from major Australian newspapers such as The Australian, The Age, Herald Sun, Sydney Morning Herald, The Advertiser and Courier Mail.

Newstext & News Store
These are newspaper archives from News Corporation and Fairfax, publishers of many Australian newspaper titles. A small charge applies to viewing the full text of stories in Newstext while News Store provides free access.

The Historic Australian newspapers database of selected fullltext papers to 1954 is available from Trove .

State Library Victoria


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