Water

Strategy tackles drainage

By Country News

The Victorian Government is giving landholders clarity about the management of drainage systems, cutting red tape and helping to reduce financial loss from water-logged paddocks and other drainage issues.

Water Minister Lisa Neville released the new rural drainage strategy and announced a range of pilot studies to address rural drainage issues.

She said the Rural Drainage Strategy was the product of extensive consultation and aimed to balance support for agricultural productivity, with protection for the environment and cultural assets.

Ms Neville said the strategy clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the first time, helping landholders better manage dry land rural drainage or excess water on their land, and properly restore areas no longer requiring drainage.

The local council will be the first point of contact and the local catchment management authority will assist with approvals and other arrangements through this process.

Ms Neville said importantly, the strategy recognised that the ongoing management of rural drainage was a decision that must be made locally and driven by the landholders.

To do this, landholders will get information they need with guidance on costs, benefits and simplified approvals to help them develop drainage management plans.

The government is also providing $4.9million to roll out 11 pilot studies to address difficult regional rural drainage issues, boost local capability to deliver the strategy and help landholders prioritise on-ground works.

■Information on the strategy and pilot projects can be found at: water.vic.gov.au