Each year the VEWH prepares a seasonal watering plan that prioritises the watering activities of the entire State. This plan lists a range of environmental watering activities that could occur under a range of climatic scenarios (from extremely dry to wet seasons):
In developing the seasonal watering plan, the VEWH considers seasonal watering proposals prepared by catchment management authorities and Melbourne Water. The seasonal watering proposals identify the desired environmental water use for streams and wetlands that can receive water from environmental water entitlements held in storage under a range of inflow scenarios.
As seasonal conditions unfold, and water becomes available throughout the year, the VEWH releases seasonal watering statements to communicate decisions on environmental watering activities that are to be undertaken. Depending on the nature of the system and the entitlement being used, there may be one or multiple statements made for a particular system. In addition to communicating decisions on environmental watering activities, the seasonal watering statements also authorise a catchment management authority or Melbourne Water to order and deliver water on behalf of the VEWH.
The planning process is outlined below:
It is recognised that environmental water can provide a range of social and economic benefits. Where possible, opportunities to provide complimentary social and economic benefits are considered by catchment management authorities, Melbourne Water and the VEWH when prioritizing environmental watering actions.