August 2012

Melbourne - A Water Sensitive City?

10.08.2012 - Posted by Leonie Duncan
From what we hear, Chris Chesterfield has not spent a huge amount of time sitting at his new desk since leaving his role as head of Waterways at Melbourne Water and taking up the position of CEO at the new Office of Living Victoria (OLV). Along with colleagues Phil Edwards and Jacquie White, who also came across from Melbourne Water, Chris has been pounding the pavement to consult with a broad range of stakeholders on what OLV is seeking to undertake. And it is no small task Chris and his team are undertaking. Their role is to drive the major reform agenda outlined in the Living Melbourne, Living Victoria Implementation Plan, prepared by the Living Victoria Ministerial Advisory Council and released by Minister for Water, Peter Walsh, in April. The vision is for ‘A smart and resilient water system for a liveable, sustainable and productive Melbourne,’ which breaks down into the following objectives:

• support liveable and sustainable communities
• protect the environmental health of urban waterways and bays
• provide secure water supplies efficiently
• protect public health
• deliver affordable essential water services.

Central to this reform is improved integration of water and urban planning, which means the engagement by Chris and his team will go beyond the traditional players in urban water management to include those in sectors such as planning, health and development.

Speaking at a recent Stormwater Victoria event, Chris described the expectation of Minister Walsh was for “transformational change” in the way Melbourne manages its water systems. We understand that right now the Minister is considering the OLV’s draft business strategy, before it is launched for public consultation. So it sounds like the next installment in Melbourne’s journey towards being a Water Sensitive City is not far off. Exciting times.