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Friday, May 24, 2024

ACT Water Strategy: Public consultation

Consultation is now open on a refresh of the ACT Water Strategy 2014-2044: Striking the Balance in line with the Strategy’s 10-year review period.

The Water Strategy, released in 2014, set out how the ACT Government would manage the Territory’s water resources over the next 30 years to meet urban, environmental needs and
regional responsibilities.

The government states that it marked a new approach to water management for the ACT as the Territory emerged from drought and the priority shifted from a single water security focus to addressing new challenges for water resource management, including deteriorating water quality resulting from urban development, maintaining aging stormwater infrastructure, and the need for enhanced stewardship of water resources and catchments.

“The ACT Water Strategy is a long-term strategy that must be informed by, and respond to, contemporary information such as evolving national priorities, local issues, and the water sector,” Shane Rattenbury, ACT Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, said.

“The review and refresh of the ACT Water Strategy provides the opportunity to modernise the strategy and ensure that it accurately reflects the water challenges and opportunities for the ACT over the next 20 years. We are seeking feedback from Canberrans on the strategy to ensure the water priorities are correct and align with the future risks.”

The ACT State of the Environment Report, published in March, found that the ACT’s aquatic ecosystems were under pressure from changes in land use types, degradation of water quality, loss of riparian and other catchment vegetation, the alteration of natural flow regimes, modified river channels, streamflow diversion, fire, and introduced species. However, the Catchment Health Indicator Program (CHIP) report, published in March by Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch, found that the condition of ACT water catchments was improving.

The government will hold a public information session on 3 June, with a Q&A session for people to ask any questions and provide feedback.

“The updates to the draft ACT Water Strategy aim to provide a better guide for future actions to address the effects of climate change, population growth and urbanisation,” Mr Rattenbury said. “The strategy has also been strengthened to focus on implementation to deliver more nation-leading programs like the Healthy Waterways Program.

“This includes projects like the Tuggeranong Creek Naturalisation project, which restores sections of the concreted creek with more natural elements to help clean the storm water and filter out pollutants to help reduce algal blooms in our lakes.

“The main changes to the strategy are a refreshed focus on our strategic direction and aspirations, improved monitoring and evaluation, improved reporting and administrative requirements, and a new outcome area focused on the water interests and values of Traditional Custodians.

“I encourage anyone interested to visit the YourSay website and have their say, or come along to the public information session.”

Consultation is open from 13 May to 28 June.

To have your say or to sign up for the public information session, visit the ACT Government’s YourSay Conversations webpage.

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