New planning approach for stream protection - Yarra Ranges Shire pilot

Melbourne Water

Last month the Minister for Water, Peter Walsh, announced the public exhibition period of a new planning control developed by Melbourne Water and Yarra Ranges Council for the lot-scale management of stormwater. The measure is for the protection of Little Stringybark Creek in Mt Evelyn, and would apply only to the catchment surrounding the creek, which affects about 1000 residents.

The instrument in the planning scheme being used for this control - an Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) - is not new to councils. Many councils across Victoria have used ESOs to protect areas of significance for habitat, protected species, or other environmental values. This is the first time it has been used for the protection of a waterway from stormwater, particularly at the lot scale.

If successful, the proposed control would require on-site treatment of stormwater for any new impervious surface area greater than 10m2 created in the catchment. This would mean that stormwater from any new buildings, or paving that cannot be drained onto lawn or green space would need to be captured using rainwater tanks, raingardens, swales, or other measures.

The control is a key part of the two year pilot project in testing its effectiveness in reducing the amount of stormwater runoff into the creek, and therefore improving its condition. The pilot will be closely monitored to determine whether or not this type of control could be used elsewhere in Victoria for the protection of urban streams. It is currently out for consultation and will require approval by Council and the Minister for Planning before taking effect.

For more information on the Little Stringybark ESO amendment, visit:

For information on the history of Little Stringybark Creek watch the Little Stringybark Creek video clip.