After more than two years of working with customers, the community and stakeholders to co-design a water future that balances all of our needs, Barwon Water is finalising its 2022 Urban Water Strategy - Water for our Future.
In late 2021, we released a draft strategy for community feedback. The draft was informed by more than 600 ideas shared during Water for our Future’s community engagement, where more than 5,000 community members participated in the program to help find new sources of water and be more efficient with the water we have.
The draft proposed adaptive plans to ensure a secure water future for each of the systems in our region, based on what our community has told us is important to them.
We are now finalising our 2022 Urban Water Strategy – Water for our Future taking into account feedback we received on the draft, including the final deliberations of the Water for our Future community panel.
The final strategy is expected to be released in mid-2022.
What is Water for our Future?
With less rain and a hotter climate, it's time to think differently about how we use water and where it comes from. How can we create a new water future that balances all our needs?
Water for our Future is Barwon Water’s program to partner with our community and regional leaders to design a new water future for our region.
Through this program wanted to draw on the insights, experiences and ideas of people from across our region to create a water future that harnesses the value of water to support liveable and prosperous communities and a healthy environment for years to come.
Our climate is changing; it is getting hotter and drier.
Less rainfall has a direct impact on our region's water supplies.
A warmer and drier climate also affects our region’s environment – reduced flows down rivers creates stress on our waterways and ecosystems plus longer, drier summers affect liveability.
Demand for water is increasing: we need to find or save up to 5 billion litres of water – over and above the 35 billion litres our region currently uses – every five years for the next 50 years.
This challenge presented an exciting opportunity to rethink where our water comes from and how we use water and design a new water future for our region.
A future that not only ensures enough water comes out of the tap, but also harnesses the value of water to support healthy, sustainable, liveable and prosperous communities now and for years to come.
What we heard
We set out to understand and explore the full range of possible options that could help address the challenge we face. We identified hundreds of ideas that could help us find more water or use water smarter.
These ideas came from:
- our community – contributions at our face-to face and online engagement activities (pre-Covid 19 restrictions), including our “Ideas Lab” (an online forum that enabled the community to post and discuss new ideas)
- our staff – ideas from previous strategies and plans together with new ideas from staff who are experts about how our systems operate
- independent experts – technical reports and gap analysis undertaken by qualified experts.
The Water for our Future Community Panel also played an important and central role in considering all the feedback collected through our wider engagement.
The panel was established as a randomly selected group of individuals to represent the diversity of our region, with the responsibility of:
- developing a vision for our water future
- recommending a set of principles and criteria for us to consider when evaluating the ideas and options that might help achieve the vision
- considering assessments of different options against these principles and criteria, to share their views about which options should and should not be further considered by Barwon Water as part of our region’s water future.