ⓘ Water management in Victoria
Following droughts in 1870s, the Water Conservation and Distribution Act 1881 was passed to help establish local waterworks trusts. It allowed local trusts to borrow funds from the government for the construction of water supply works. The trusts could then charge water rates to users in order to recoup their costs and pay the interest on the loans.
Melbourne received its first piped water, from the Yan yean reservoir in 1857. Water shortages in the late 1870-ies led to the construction of the Toorourrong scheme in 1882-1885, and the Maroondah aqueduct in 1886-1891. In 1888 a large part of the upper Yarra valley has been reserved for water supply purposes.
In 1891, the Council and MMBW works of Metropolitan Melbourne, was Council housing in Melbourne, for providing water, wastewater and sewage treatment functions for the city and for the establishment of a system of water supply sanitation.
Liability covers MMBWs Yan yean reservoir and Toorourrong augmented scheme, the first stage of the Maroondah scheme and six Metropolitan service reservoirs.
MMBW continued to increase Melbournes water supply with deviations from upland tributaries of the Yarra river. The Maroondah scheme was extended, with branch line from coranderrk street Creek 1908. A diversion dam on the river OShannassy was completed in 1914 and replaced OShannassy reservoir in 1928. Maroondah reservoir was completed in 1927, replacing a diversion Weir upstream of the site.
Silvan reservoir was completed in 1932, to regulate the increased flows in OShannassy aqueduct from the upper part of the Yarra river and diversions coranderrk street Creek. Water flowed Silvan reservoir through mount Evelyn aqueduct, the aqueduct was later replaced by pipes, but still visible in places with mount Evelyn aqueduct nearby.
Water intake from upper Yarra river began in 1939 with the dam upstream from the current dam and water pipeline and pipeline to OShannassy aqueduct. The upper Yarra dam was completed in 1957, increasing Melbournes total storage capacity of 300.000 megalitres. While the project upper Yarra was built was built in 1953, 1.7 m, diameter of the pipeline from pool near starvation Creek to Silvan reservoir. A duplicate pipeline of the same diameter was completed in 1964.
In response to the severe drought of 1967-68:
- The diversion of Starvation, McMahons, Armstrong and Cement Creeks commenced between 1968 and 1971.
- Greenvale Reservoir, with a capacity of 27.000 megalitres was completed in 1971 to meet the growing need in the western suburbs, especially during summer.
- Construction of Cardinia Reservoir was started in 1969 with it being filled to its 287.000-megalitre capacity in 1977, bringing Melbournes total storage capacity to 610.000 megalitres.
To increase the bandwidth between upper Yarra and Silvan reservoirs, and to enable water harvested from the Thomson river was to be transferred to Cardinia reservoir, 2.1-meter diameter of the Yarra valley conduit and Silvan-Cardinia main were built in 1975.
In 1969 work began with the transfer of the flow of the river Thompson in Gippsland in the upper reaches of the Yarra river catchment. The final stage of the Thomson project concluded in may 1983 with the expansion of the Thomson-Yarra tunnel and completion of the dam wall. Thomson reservoir has a capacity of 1.068.000 megalitres.
The project is the Sugarloaf reservoir, including main pumping station and sewage treatment plant, was completed in 1981, increasing Melbournes total storage capacity of 95.000 megalitres. Sugar loaf water is pumped from the Yarra river at yering Gorge and water transferred from Maroondah reservoir via the Maroondah aqueduct. Sugar loaf-this is important in the achievement of peak summer demand in the Northern part of Melbourne.
In 1991, the MMBW was merged with a number of smaller urban water authorities to form Melbourne water.