January 24, 2019 Written by: Glossop Town Planning (Henry Wallis)

New integrated water management provisions

The State Government has made changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions to introduce integrated water management provisions.

The new provisions include objectives and strategies to manage water supply, water resources, wastewater, drainage and stormwater through an integrated water management approach. They seek to improve water quality and reduce the overall nutrient quantities in the water cycle.

A limited number of Councils have had Water Sensitive Urban Design local polices in place for a number of years.

The new provisions apply to all Council areas and extend the stormwater management requirements for residential subdivision and apartment developments to the following development types:

  • All commercial and industrial subdivisions and developments;
  • All public use developments; and
  • All residential multi-dwelling developments.

Exemptions apply to a number of application types including:

  • VicSmart applications;
  • Applications to alter a building resulting in an increase of less than 50m²; and
  • Applications to amend a permit originally lodged before 26 October 2018.

What’s changed?

Clause 19.03-3S has been introduced to the Planning Policy Framework. It includes broad objectives and strategies to protect downstream environments, waterways and bays and minimise drainage, water or wastewater infrastructure and operational costs.

Clause 53.18 has been introduced as a particular provision. It operates similar to Clauses 54, 55, 56 and 58 in that an application must meet all of the relevant objectives and should meet all of the relevant standards.

Clause 53.18 includes specific stormwater management objectives relating to:

  • Subdivision (Clause 53.18-4);
  • Buildings and works (Clause 53.18-5); and
  • Site management (Clause 53.18-6).

For developments that trigger the requirements of Clause 53.18, stormwater management systems are required to meet the current best practice performance objectives for stormwater quality as contained in the Urban Stormwater - Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines (Victorian Stormwater Committee, 1999).

What does this mean in practice?

Planning permit applications that do not meet the exemptions discussed are required to respond to Clause 19.03-3S and Clause 53.18.

Developments that trigger the requirements of Clause 53.18 are required to demonstrate compliance with each of the objectives that apply to the particular development type.

In order to demonstrate that the best practice standards have been achieved, applicants can utilise the online STORM or MUSIC assessment tools. These assessments are commonly undertaken by Environmental Sustainable Design (ESD) Consultants in the preparation of Sustainable Design Assessments (SDA) or Sustainability Management Plans (SMP).

Developments that trigger the requirements of Clause 53.18 may require the inclusion of stormwater management initiatives such as:

  • Rainwater catchment and reuse systems;
  • Rain gardens; and
  • Permeable paving.

At Glossop Town Planning, we are experts in understanding the implications of these new provisions for our clients. We were recently engaged by the Department of Environment, Land, Water, Environment and Planning to deliver training to local government planners on the new integrated water management provisions.

This expertise gives us the ability to deliver smart and effective planning solutions. If you would like further information regarding the above, or have any queries with your project please contact the Glossop team on (03) 9329 2288. The information contained in this article is general in nature and may not be applicable for your project. Please seek professional advice before acting on it.