Adaptation is changing the way we think about and use water to increase resilience to long-term climate change

Water use in Western Victoria already offers strong illustrations of adaptation in response to a changing climate. Lower than average regional rainfall since the 1990s has impacted the health of aquatic systems and supplies. Strategic water infrastructure (such as pipeline projects) has enabled towns and communities to keep their meters ticking with less reliance on household-level water restrictions than previously. 

Adaptation actions already underway

Lead agency

Pipeline projects

Water corporations

Integrated Water Management forums

Water corporations and catchment management authorities

Pilot Water Sector Adaptation Action Plan


Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy


Regional catchment strategies

Catchment management authorities

NRM plans for climate change

Catchment management authorities

Stormwater reuse for recreational watering

Local governments

Western Region Sustainable Water Strategy



Leading opportunities

  • Increased use of recycled water or alternative water supplies to reduce ecological pressure on waterways.
  • Upgrading water infrastructure for water efficiency gains to balance future needs of all water users and the environment.
  • Protecting water quality to maintain waterway health and water supply for communities.
  • Integrated water management achieves multiple benefits, maximising biodiversity, social and cultural benefits.
  • Reconnecting Traditional Owners with water for cultural, economic, customary and spiritual purposes.
  • Manage rural drainage to increase agricultural production, protect built infrastructure and minimise environmental impacts.


Main barriers

  • Less winter and spring rainfall resulting in reduced surface water and groundwater. This will require the ability to balance the needs of all users with scarcer water supplies.
  • Population growth (particularly in the Central Highlands) and land use change will place greater demand on water resources.
  • Increased frequency of wildfires is likely to reduce catchment water yields and supply quality, while exacerbating the fragility of many waterways as ecosystems.
  • Drought tests individual resilience, but it does not typically build community resilience.
  • River flows come under increasing threat with successive dry years.
  • Blue green algae is more prevalent in warmer weather and can affect the natural ecosystem and potentially affect human health.


John Frdelja from Central Highlands Water

Kym Wilson from Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water

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We acknowledge the First Nations Peoples of the land and waters that we live, care and work upon within the Grampians Region. We respect the continuous culture that has been embedded into history for thousands of years. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.