The Werribee River Association has joined together with other community and environmental organisations calling for consultation in the development of the new Sustainable Water Strategy for the Central and Gippsland regions of Victoria.
The organisations are deeply concerned over the current deterioration of rivers, waterways and wetlands in southern Victoria, fearing the next Sustainable Water Strategy will be more of the same extractive and polluting water management practices.
Werribee River Keeper has said “The Werribee River and our western waterways are under great stress, with litter, poor quality stormwater and low flows compounding difficulties for our endangered platypus, and making life less pleasant for our growing human population which depend on our waterways for much of their walking and outdoor life. People are being asked to tolerate higher impacts on their comfort, health and their environment – rainfall is decreasing, days are growing hotter, wildlife are suffering. We need a better future.”
Prior water strategies have viewed water as an endlessly extractable resource for human use, with little regard for ecologically sustainable development principles. Rivers and catchments are depleted by over-extraction, wetlands on the brink of collapse due to insufficient flows, the groundwater dependent ecosystems drying and dying, and, contaminants are leaching into our waterways.
Future pressures from population growth, climate change and the decades of pollutants in waterways means now it is very important to get this strategy right.
The joint statement is dissatisfied with the consultation process for the Sustainable Water Strategy for the Central and Gippsland, stating it has been superficial and certainly hasn’t encouraged participation or broad public dialogue.
The joint statement has been sent to Acting Water Minister, Richard Wynne, and makes a series of recommendations for ensuring human health and environmental protection is at the core of the new strategy.
To view the Joint Statement, go to: https://werribeeriver.org.au/what-we-do/