Media Release: 5-year Plan Improve Bays And Waterways

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10th December 2009, 06:34pm - Views: 514
FIVE-YEAR PLAN TO IMPROVE BAYS AND WATERWAYS

More than 90 actions have been pulled together in a new five-year plan as part of an unprecedented approach by all levels of government to improving Melbourne's bays and waterways.

Better Bays and Waterways, developed by Melbourne Water and the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, sets out the actions of more than 30 organisations including local government, five Victorian Government agencies, research institutions and community groups.

The $5 million plan, jointly funded by the Australian Government, EPA Victoria and Melbourne Water, describes the values, threats and current condition of the region's catchments, waterways and Port Phillip and Western Port bays.

The plan outlines 93 actions, across 15 focus areas (fact sheet attached), aimed at reducing the amount of pollutants entering waterways and bays from rural, urban and coastal areas.

The actions, with a total investment of almost $300 million, include:
* Urban wetlands: Reduce amount of pollutant loads from Melbourne's suburbs by building wetlands, including the $15 million Scoresby project.
* 10,000 Raingardens: A program to help Melbourne residents to build raingardens, which remove pollutants from stormwater before it enters drains.
* Rural Land Program: Efficient use of fresh water and wastewater on farms, and stock and crop exclusion from waterways, gullies and natural wetlands.
* Western Port Research Co-ordination: a study into the effect of human activity on the Western Port marine environment.

Chairman of EPA Victoria, Cheryl Batagol, said the plan identified urban stormwater as the biggest polluter of the regions bays and waterways.

"Stormwater run-off from suburban streets and gutters is the number one polluter because of what it picks up and carries into rivers and creeks," said Ms Batagol.

"When you consider that every new road, footpath, driveway and pavement adds to stormwater runoff, protecting bays and waterways becomes a bigger challenge the more Melbourne grows.

"This plan maps out how we're working to help protect bays and waterways in the face of climate change and population growth."

Melbourne Water's General Manager of Waterways, Chris Chesterfield, said the plan would be an all-encompassing health check for Melbourne's water environments because it tracked the progress and effect of projects.

"There's a lot of great work being done to improve water quality across Melbourne by all levels of government and the community, so it makes sense to capture these in one comprehensive plan," said Mr Chesterfield.

"Rigorous checks and balances will be in place to ensure we meet our commitments."

To view the plan on-line, visit melbournewater.com.au/betterbaysandwaterways

Media contact:
Nicolas McGay
(03) 9235 2278;
0438 981 836

SOURCE: Melbourne Water
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