supporting documents

Integrated water management will help the township of Winchelsea to realise its long term vision

Winchelsa IWM

Winchelsea IWM Plan

Surf Coast Shire Council

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Project Overview

The Winchelsea Integrated Water Management (IWM) plan was completed by Surf Coast Shire, in partnership with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Barwon Water, and is the first plan of its kind completed for a small rural town of this nature (population ~2000). Developing the plan was identified as a priority in the Barwon Region IWM Forum’s Strategic Direction Statement 2018, and the project aimed to build on the established community vision outlined in the Growing Winchelsea 2050 community planning document. The plan explores the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and a growing population, and examines how aspects of the water cycle can be leveraged to realise the township’s vision. The plan was developed with a significant focus on consultation whereby key community stakeholders were engaged in an options screening workshop process. A subsequent high level engineering analysis was used to further refine the ideas with the final plan presenting several opportunities grouped into complementary portfolios. Possible project ideas includes initiatives aimed at developing cooler streetscapes, expanding recycled water networks for irrigation of public spaces and promoting greater connectivity with the Barwon River.

Drivers and Objectives

• Create a shared understanding of the future water-cycle related challenges and opportunities presented for Winchelsea and how these relate to the established community vision
• Examine the water-cycle related impacts of climate change and future population growth on the township
• Identify potential opportunities for collaborative cross-agency support to realise the aspirations of the
community and achieve multiple benefits
• Seek key stakeholder input into the development of the plan, including traditional owners, community service providers (e.g. health care, aged care), community groups (e.g Winchelsea Land and River Care, Growing Winchelsea) and large water users in town (e.g. golf courses, sporting reserves, Barwon Park Mansion)
• Undertake an options screening process to identify priority opportunities based on specific criteria around
impact, acceptability and ease of implementation.
• Group the related priority ideas into themed portfolios of potential IWM opportunities


Surf Coast Shire, Barwon Water, DELWP, Encader Consulting, Foresight Advisory, Resilient Urban

Project Outcomes

• A final IWM plan for the township was formally endorsed by Council and well received by stakeholders
• Five portfolios of projects were developed around the themes of enhancing the Barwon River, creating cooler streetscapes, expanding recycled water irrigation networks and better water management at key high-use sites.
• The project led to enhanced inter-agency collaboration and an increased organisational awareness around IWM.
• The plan has been a key input to current projects being delivered at Surf Coast Shire and Barwon Water, including the Barwon River walk, the development of the Winchelsea Precinct Plan, the 2020 Pathway Strategy Review and recycled water network expansion planning activities.

Lessons Learnt

• Existing community visions can be built upon and allow for initial community engagement to be targeted to key stakeholders. Public exhibition of the draft plan was undertaken to ensure broader community support prior to finalisation and formal endorsement by Council.
• Basic water balance modelling and high-level engineering assessments can help refine project options, however key stakeholder buy-in to the ideas presented is generally the primary consideration.
• A limited degree of quantitative analysis of the project benefits was seen as being required for a strategic-level planning document of this kind with a limited budget, particularly as project ideas were of a smaller scale master-planning type focus
• On-going works programs and projects can be informed by IWM plans, with existing budgets refocused to deliver complementary outcomes. However, further work is required to explore how funding barriers to implementation of small scale projects with limited business cases in regional settings can be overcome

Project Cost

Project cost: $55,000 (Barwon Water, DELWP Surf Coast Shire)
Additional in-kind project management support: $30,000 (Barwon Water and Surf Coast Shire)


November 2018 – September 2019


Sean Keown

Surf Coast Shire Council

03 5261 0600