Supporting GMW land and on water activities now and into the future

Tuesday 13 July, 2021

Water, as we all know, is a precious commodity that provides multiple benefits.

That is why it is so important it is managed appropriately.

As the region’s irrigation water supplier, the primary purpose of Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW), under the Water Act, is to harvest, store and deliver water to bulk entitlement holders.

However, we also recognise our 24 storages are also important for local communities and businesses.

During the warmer months, our water storages, particularly Lake Eildon, Lake Eppalock, Waranga Basin, Lake Mulwala and Lake Hume, double as popular recreation destinations.

Thousands of people flock to these storages every year to enjoy an array of leisure activities.

As such, we have a responsibility to upgrade and maintain recreation infrastructure so the waterways are protected and people follow regulations that preserve water quality, cultural heritage and the environment.

The Land & on Water services GMW provides brings real and sustainable improvements for the community.

Supporting our recreational values will not only help drive our economy but enhance the health and wellbeing and social fabric of regional communities.

Our board recently endorsed the Land and on Water Strategy, Its implementation will enhance the financial and operational sustainability of our Land & on Water services, while creating safe, relaxing and beautiful areas for our communities to enjoy for years to come.

Experiencing everything nature has to offer in the great outdoors has never been more important for our physical and mental health.

Across our beautiful lakes, dams and reservoirs, GMW provides recreation facilities such as caravan parks, amenity blocks, playgrounds, barbecues and picnic tables and chairs for the general public to use.

We also manage houseboat and commercial licences.

Managing land and water at our storages to support the provision of these Land & on Water services, which complement GMW’s water supply function, represents about 6 per cent of GMW revenue – about $6 million annually.

While this is cash-flow positive, it does not allow for capital investment to mitigate known risks and ageing infrastructure.

It is also financially ring-fenced and, hence, does not receive any subsidies from the irrigation business.

Therefore, there are limited opportunities to improve services except through partnerships with other government and commercial agencies.

That’s where our Land and on Water Strategy really comes into play.

By partnering with other organisations, we will be able to access external funding and optimise resources to improve these services.

Through our partnerships with Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA), Better Boating Victoria (BBV) and the Department of Environment Land Water & Planning (DELWP), GMW recently received more than $1.6 million for our land and water services.

Thanks to the VFA, we will be able to replace the Harriman’s Point amenity block at Waranga Basin, and the amenity block at Tullaroop Reservoir and extend the gravel boat ramp at Tullaroop Reservoir.

BBV funds will upgrade the boat ramp at Harriman’s Point on Waranga Basin to reduce boating congestion at peak times, install navigation aids at Waranga Basin and Lake Eppalock, which will not only improve boating safety, and provide erosion protection to boat ramps at the Broken, Ovens, King and Hume storages.

Funding from DELWP will be used to improve wastewater management at Lake Eppalock, reducing the risk of water contamination; the installation of car counters to inform recreational use and future investment; and the installation of a recreation shelter and all-abilities double barbecue at Waranga Basin.

Other projects have seen improved facilities at Kimbolton at Lake Eppalock, Jerusalem Creek at Lake Eildon, Majors Creek and Foreshore erosion protection works at Lake Mulwala to name a few.

The Land and on Water Strategy builds on a long-term vision for recreational values and commercial obligations that complement the operation of our storages.

It is a blueprint for how our obligations under the Victorian Government’s Water for Victoria will be met to while supplying water to our customers, maintaining financial sustainability and the safe enjoyment of our land and on water services.

Because GMW is committed to delivering a sustainable water future and contributing to our region’s future prosperity.

Charmaine Quick

Managing Director Goulburn-Murray Water