In June 2004 the Victorian
Government released its Our Water Our Future
(OWOF) action plan. An important component of OWOF is establishing
Environmental Water Reserves, the legal share of water for the environment, for
all Victorian rivers, streams and groundwater systems. Government
introduced the Water (Resource Management) Bill 2005
to amend the Water Act 1989 and from 2006 the act legally recognises
the Environmental Water Reserve as the legal share of water for the
The preparation and
implementation of a Stream Flow Management Plan enhances the Environmental
Water Reserve in priority, flows stressed, unregulated rivers. SFMPs, through
Victorian River Health Strategy, released in 2002, and OWOF action plan are recognized
as a crucial part of achieving Government's river health objectives.
What is a
Streamflow Management Plan?
Streamflow Management Plans
(SFMPs) aim to provide a balanced and sustainable sharing of available water between
all water users in unregulated catchments. SFMPs are now recognized as
Management Plans under the Water Act 1989 (as amended 2002) and are legally
binding on individual water users and authorities.
SFMPs apply to unregulated
streams. These are catchments where the flow in streams is not
"regulated" by controlled releases from publicly owned dams to supply
water to downstream users. In these systems flow is simply run of the
river generated from rainfall runoff in the catchment.