Californian Drought Delegation Visits Victoria

23 October 2015

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville today hosted a Californian delegation which is visiting Victoria to learn more about water reforms to deal with drought.

Ms Neville said Victoria was a world leader in water management, having implemented significant water reforms through the experience of the Millennium drought and was continuing to look at ways to maximise use of the Victorian water grid.

The Andrews Labor Government was also investing in water efficiency and innovative ways to secure supplies and save water in the face of population growth, variable rainfall and climate change.

California is enduring its fourth consecutive year of drought, while parts of Victoria are again experiencing very dry conditions, with storage levels in some areas close to 30 per cent, and irrigation allocations at 15 per cent in areas west of Melbourne.

The Californian delegation includes State Senate and State Assembly representatives, and is organised by the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy. The Foundation is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that includes scientific, business and union representatives.

The delegation’s nine-day Australian visit has included meetings in Victoria with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, visits to water saving infrastructure – such as water recycling at the MCG, Etihad Stadium and Victoria Racing Club - and meetings with climate change bodies.

The delegation has also visited the Shepparton region where it met with Goulburn Murray Water representatives and irrigators to discuss investments in irrigation efficiency and farm productivity.

In July 2015, Victoria and the State of California signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable more sharing of expertise, technical knowledge and practical help during disasters such as bushfires.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville

“California and Victoria face similar climatic challenges and natural environments prone to severe droughts, bushfires and floods – we’re pleased to share with the Californians any Victorian measures which may assist them in dealing with their climatic challenges.”

“The Californian delegation has been able to see some of our urban water recycling projects – as well as visit the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District where significant investment is occurring in modernising infrastructure, boosting irrigation efficiency and saving water.”

“As part of the Government’s development of a water plan for Victoria, I want to see a conversation about the best ways to further use our water grid to maximise benefits to our communities and regions – which may be experiencing widely varying amounts of rainfall and inflows into their water storages.”

“It’s in times of drought that the importance of secure water supplies for our regional economies, environmental values and the social fabric of our communities is highlighted.”

“The dry conditions also underline the need to address climate change and to adapt its impacts - we recognise that California has been a leader in delivering economic and jobs growth through transitioning to a lower emissions economy.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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