Water for our Future Community Panel

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The Water for our Future Community Panel met 11 times from October 2020 to November 2021 to consider how we can create a new water future that balances all our needs.

The panel, made up of up to 52* randomly-selected people representing the diversity of our region:

  • Developed a vision for our water future
  • Suggested criteria to assess different ideas for how we might use and find water in the future
  • Considered different options for Barwon Water to consider over the next 50 years.

The panel recommended a wide range of options, including solutions relating to better design and planning, changing behaviour, improving efficiency and sourcing extra water for a variety of purposes through roof water, stormwater, greywater, recycled water and desalination.

Looking ahead to the next 50 years, the panel envisioned a secure water future with innovative, sustainable and affordable water solutions for the region and less reliance over time on traditional and rainfall dependent sources of water, like rivers and groundwater.

Combined, the options recommended by the panel could save or find more than 100 billion litres of water in the future, which is double the amount of water the region would need even under a worst-case scenario.

Here is a video about the community panel process:


Community vision

The first task of the Water for our Future Community Panel was to develop a vision for our water future. The vision was adopted by Barwon Water in November 2020.


Our water future is....A secure future where our rivers flow, our foods grow and our impact is low.

Resilient, innovative and sustainable, with abundant water from a range of sources and where we actively protect and improve water for the environment.

Ethical, healthy and responsible, with affordable and equitable access for everyone.

A shared responsibility, by valuing and conserving water and respecting the diverse needs of our community, cultures, and the environment.



Here’s the vision spoken by some of our community panel members.


The process

To help guide their discussions, the panel considered a wide range of information about our changing climate and the impact it is having on the amount of water we collect from rainfall.

The panel heard from, and asked questions of, more than 20 independent experts including Traditional Owners, and specialists in the fields of climate science, national and international water policy, town planning, water research and innovation, climate economics, and environmental science.

The panel also received "background reports" from Barwon Water to help with their deliberations. The Panel 1 Background Report provided detailed information about what we do, the systems we manage, the challenge we face and our response.

The Panel 2 Background Report assessed a range of representative options against the criteria and vision developed by the panel during it's first round of meetings.

Here’s what the panellists had to say about the process:



Panel reports

The panel produced a report following each round of meetings.

Panel 1 Report

Panel 2 Report

Panel 3 Report


What's next

Barwon Water will consider the panel’s recommendations as it finalises the Water for Our Future Strategy.

We’ll also work with other water corporations and the Victorian Government to take into account broader regional water security through the Central and Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy.

Our final Water for our Future strategy will be submitted to the Minister for Water in March 2022.



*Sixty people were originally randomly-selected for the Water for our Future Community Panel, however a number of people were unable to participate for all of the panel sessions.

The Water for our Future Community Panel met 11 times from October 2020 to November 2021 to consider how we can create a new water future that balances all our needs.

The panel, made up of up to 52* randomly-selected people representing the diversity of our region:

  • Developed a vision for our water future
  • Suggested criteria to assess different ideas for how we might use and find water in the future
  • Considered different options for Barwon Water to consider over the next 50 years.

The panel recommended a wide range of options, including solutions relating to better design and planning, changing behaviour, improving efficiency and sourcing extra water for a variety of purposes through roof water, stormwater, greywater, recycled water and desalination.

Looking ahead to the next 50 years, the panel envisioned a secure water future with innovative, sustainable and affordable water solutions for the region and less reliance over time on traditional and rainfall dependent sources of water, like rivers and groundwater.

Combined, the options recommended by the panel could save or find more than 100 billion litres of water in the future, which is double the amount of water the region would need even under a worst-case scenario.

Here is a video about the community panel process:


Community vision

The first task of the Water for our Future Community Panel was to develop a vision for our water future. The vision was adopted by Barwon Water in November 2020.


Our water future is....A secure future where our rivers flow, our foods grow and our impact is low.

Resilient, innovative and sustainable, with abundant water from a range of sources and where we actively protect and improve water for the environment.

Ethical, healthy and responsible, with affordable and equitable access for everyone.

A shared responsibility, by valuing and conserving water and respecting the diverse needs of our community, cultures, and the environment.



Here’s the vision spoken by some of our community panel members.


The process

To help guide their discussions, the panel considered a wide range of information about our changing climate and the impact it is having on the amount of water we collect from rainfall.

The panel heard from, and asked questions of, more than 20 independent experts including Traditional Owners, and specialists in the fields of climate science, national and international water policy, town planning, water research and innovation, climate economics, and environmental science.

The panel also received "background reports" from Barwon Water to help with their deliberations. The Panel 1 Background Report provided detailed information about what we do, the systems we manage, the challenge we face and our response.

The Panel 2 Background Report assessed a range of representative options against the criteria and vision developed by the panel during it's first round of meetings.

Here’s what the panellists had to say about the process:



Panel reports

The panel produced a report following each round of meetings.

Panel 1 Report

Panel 2 Report

Panel 3 Report


What's next

Barwon Water will consider the panel’s recommendations as it finalises the Water for Our Future Strategy.

We’ll also work with other water corporations and the Victorian Government to take into account broader regional water security through the Central and Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy.

Our final Water for our Future strategy will be submitted to the Minister for Water in March 2022.



*Sixty people were originally randomly-selected for the Water for our Future Community Panel, however a number of people were unable to participate for all of the panel sessions.

Page last updated: 23 December 2021, 12:38