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Victorian Alpine Resorts Combine Efforts to Improve Water Quality in the High Country

Victorian Alpine Resorts Combine Efforts to Improve Water Quality in the High Country

Victoria’s Alpine Resorts have combined their efforts with the EPA in an important project to reduce the negative impacts on water quality in the streams and waterways in and adjacent to Victoria’s High country.

The project is funded by the Victorian Government through EPA Victoria as part of the Victorian Stormwater Action Program, and is being coordinated by Mount Hotham Resort Management, in conjunction with Falls Creek Resort Management, Mount Buller Resort Management, Mount Baw Baw Resort Management and Lake Mountain Resort Management.

Victoria’s alpine environment lies at the headwaters of some of the State’s major river catchments including the Ovens, Kiewa, Jamieson, Delatite, Howqua and LaTrobe rivers. Managing stormwater runoff quality at the top of the catchment will greatly benefit downstream receiving environments and ensure the high environmental values of the Victorian High country are maintained.

“This project is vital to an integrated catchment approach to the management of stormwater from Victoria’s alpine environments and will complement the work being undertaken through the local government areas associated with the Victorian High Country,“ stated Simon Jones of Mount Hotham Resort Management, coordinator of the Project.

Mr Jones said that Victorian Alpine Resorts, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Falls Creek, Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw, recognise that future development within the Alpine Regions will need to be managed according to best practice methods for development to ensure the uniqueenvironmental qualities of the Victorian Alps are maintained. Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) principles will be investigated and tailored for Alpine Areas to ensure that runoff to downstream waterways is managed according to best practice.

WBM Oceanics Australia, an environmental engineering consultancy, has been appointed to work with the Victorian Alpine Resorts to undertake analysis, and trial appropriate materials and techniques for water sensitive urban design in alpine environments. WBM’s Project Manager, Kate Smolenska, said, “The project will include on-ground demonstrations at each of the Resorts to provide the foundation for establishing a set of guidelines, including materials and technical information, that will ensure future development in alpine environments embraces WSUD principles.”

The findings of the analysis and recommendations will be compiled into a set of guidelines, “Water Sensitive Urban Design for Alpine Environments”. The guidelines will provide the Victorian Alpine Resorts, Parks Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Catchment Management Authorities and developers with the necessary tools to ensure development in the fragile alpine environment is implemented appropriately.

“This project presents a unique opportunity where all stakeholders are committed to improved environmental outcomes and are contributing directly to the project. We have a very dedicated group of people, from on-ground staff through to strategic managers, who are committed to maintaining the unique qualities of Victoria’s alpine environment for current and future generations.

Further information on the Alpine Water Sensitive Urban Design project is available on the web at www.wbmpl.com.au/AlpineWSUD