The water resources within the Port Phillip and Western Port region are the lifeblood of the regional economy, and of its society and ecosystems.
There are some 8,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, more than 900 wetlands and more than a dozen estuaries within the region’s catchments. The region also contains numerous large reservoirs that collect and store high-quality water for household, industrial and agricultural use in metropolitan Melbourne and surrounding areas.
These waterways flow into Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and Bass Strait. These coastal and marine systems include internationally recognised wetlands as well as eight marine protected areas, support a myriad of recreational activities, underpin commercial initiatives such as ports and commercial fishing, and provide invaluable ecosystem services. These surface water supplies are supplemented by significant amounts of groundwater held in the region’s aquifers.
Complex relationships and interactions exist between the region’s water resources. Some are obvious, such as the flow of rivers into the bays, or our collection and storage of fresh water in reservoirs for domestic use. Others are less obvious but just as important, such as the contribution of groundwater to base flow levels in streams, and the role of wetlands and estuaries in filtering sediments and nutrients to improve water quality.
The Port Phillip and Westernport CMA’s mission is to facilitate effective management and integration of these catchment assets in order to protect, and where possible improve them. The Authority plays an central role in bringing people, organisations and groups together and leading them via the Regional Catchment Strategy to achieve this goal.