This RCS builds on more than 25 years of lessons and achievements in integrated catchment management.
The community-agency partnership model that was fostered when salinity plans were developed and implemented in the late 1980s remains a feature today.
The first Goulburn Broken RCS coincided with the advent of catchment management authorities in 1997. The RCS was world’s best practice and resulted in stronger integration of salinity, water quality and biodiversity management, significant progress towards objectives, and a greater understanding of challenges. Important activities included whole farm planning, surface and sub-surface water management, introduction of multi-benefit incentives, decentralised floodplain management decisions, factoring environmental needs into newly introduced bulk water entitlement processes, and supporting community involvement (GB CMA 2003).
Since the RCS was updated in 2003, the Catchment and management processes have been vigorously tested by climate extremes: record-breaking droughts, fires and floods.
By 2009, the longest drought on record was causing fundamental shifts in priorities and partnerships, including a rapid bringing together of water users to develop water saving and sharing plans. Watering of environmental features and efficient use of water on farms have become high priorities for Catchment management (GB CMA 2009a).
Also in recent years, indigenous groups have become more active in catchment management partnerships, and understanding of progress at a whole-of-Catchment scale has significantly improved through detailed annual reporting (GB CMA 2009a).
This RCS renewal promotes more responsive approaches to inevitable and unforeseeable change. More than ever, strong and flexible partnerships with agencies and communities are seen as critical to Catchment health. All partners have been given an opportunity to be involved in RCS development using traditional and online means and are encouraged to be involved with implementation.
Against this background, the following guiding principles for developing the RCS were adopted.