Management of Rural Drainage Systems
There are estimated to be up to 130 rural drainage systems across Victoria, covering over 1.5 million hectares of agricultural land. The majority occur in the south of the state. These systems play an important role in maintaining agricultural productivity, particularly during the wetter months.
Management of Victoria’s rural drainage systems varies. Some systems have clearly defined management arrangements for maintenance and operation, while others are ad-hoc and ineffective.
Most drainage systems were constructed in the early part of the twentieth century and there is a general lack of information on their condition. The Millennium Drought, changes to regulations and legislation, and a lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities over the past few decades have resulted in a lack of maintenance on many rural drainage systems.
The current lack of clarity around the management and condition of Victoria’s rural drainage systems is having an impact on agricultural productivity, and contributing to environmental degradation of our land and waterways. It is the role of the Victorian Government to provide clear policy and guidance in relation to rural drainage management.
The VFF is lobbying for appropriate funds to be returned to ensure that constructed drains are brought up to and maintained to a standard, which allows for the appropriate operation of the drains. Further, the VFF is also lobbying for funding to be provided to CMA’s to encourage local groups to become involved in community drainage projects.
For further information about the VFF’s policy and advocacy, VFF members can call the VFF Policy Team on 1300 882 833 or email [email protected].