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Frequently Asked Questions

Melbourne Water’s organisational vision is “Enhancing life and liveability”, and we are committed to delivering more community benefit from our land and water assets, where it is compatible with our current services.

As a community, we are facing challenges associated with rapid population growth, more dense suburbs with smaller backyards, and climate change – all of which make access to green open spaces for communities to recreate and connect to nature even more important.

Yan Yean Reservoir Park has been a hub for community recreation since the 1900’s and we want to make sure it remains a valued community space into the future.

Water supply will remain as the main function of Yan Yean Reservoir, but additional recreation and open space will be considered where it is compatible with this service.

Exploring additional opportunities for community use at Yan Yean is also consistent with Victorian Government policy outlined in the Water for Victoria strategy.

Consistent with Victorian Government policy directions and our organisational vision, Melbourne Water has undertaken assessments of its reservoirs to identify potential opportunities to provide additional public access for community open space and recreation.

Assessments show that, provided any additional access and recreation is carefully planned and managed to protect water quality, the treatment plant upgrades being delivered at Yan Yean to service our growing population make it safe to provide additional recreational opportunities for the community while maintaining and supplying high-quality drinking water to Melburnians.

For many other reservoir sites, additional recreation would require a substantial upgrade to the treatment processes, and the additional costs for treatment upgrades would outweigh the benefits for the community.

Melbourne Water has undertaken detailed assessments to ensure all costs, benefits, and risks of potential additional recreation at Yan Yean Reservoir are well understood.

Protecting the quality of the water we supply is still our highest priority. If additional recreation is enabled at Yan Yean, we will continue to appropriately manage water quality risks through upgraded water treatment facilities and appropriate limitations on the types and extent of recreational activities allowed.

Activities being considered for Yan Yean Reservoir will need to enhance wellbeing for the community while continuing to protect Melbourne’s world-class drinking water. Some activities, such as swimming, camping and motorised boats, will not be considered

Yan Yean Reservoir is one of Melbourne Water’s Sites of Biodiversity Significance. This means it is recognised as a place that provides important habitat for the rare and threatened species of plants and animals that call Yan Yean home.

Yan Yean also has two “Reference Areas” within its catchment, which are special places put aside under Victorian legislation to preserve a snapshot of what Victoria’s bush was like, to assist future land managers and scientists.

To protect these important environmental values for all Victorians, activities being considered for Yan Yean Reservoir will need to enhance liveability for the community while continuing to protect the natural environment at Yan Yean. Some activities, such as camping and horse riding, will not be considered and access to environmentally sensitive areas within the catchment will be restricted to protect flora and fauna.

Assessments show that Yan Yean Reservoir provides the best opportunities to improve community access and recreation.

For many other reservoir sites, additional recreation would require a substantial upgrade to the treatment processes, and the additional costs for treatment upgrades would outweigh the benefits for the community.

As such, opportunities for recreation at other reservoirs are not currently being pursued by Melbourne Water.

Melbourne Water is exploring new ways Yan Yean Reservoir can offer recreational and open space opportunities for the community. We welcome the community to tell us what you would like to see in the future so that we can consider your ideas in developing a future masterplan for Yan Yean.

Activities considered for Yan Yean Reservoir will need to enhance wellbeing for the community while continuing to protect Melbourne’s world-class drinking water and Yan Yean’s existing values, such as environmental and cultural values. Some activities, such as swimming, camping, horse riding, and motorised boats, will not be considered as they pose a risk to water quality and other values.

Activities that could potentially be considered may include lower impact activities such as bushwalking, birdwatching or canoeing.

All ideas proposed will be assessed with consideration of a number of important factors including water supply, environmental and cultural values and public safety, amongst others.

No. Swimming, together with other high-impact activities such as motorised craft and camping will not be allowed at Yan Yean Reservoir as they pose a risk to water quality and other values.

If additional recreational activities are introduced, Melbourne Water will ensure appropriate water quality protection measures are in place to minimise any impacts of those recreational activities.

The difference between these two activities is the amount of contact with the water – referred to as primary and secondary contact. Activities that involve immersion in the water are called primary contact activities and are a greater risk to water quality than activities where there is only occasional contact with the water, referred to as secondary contact.

For example, swimming is a primary contact activity, while canoeing is a secondary contact activity because a person is not generally in contact with the water but may fall in.

If additional recreational activities are introduced, Melbourne Water will ensure appropriate water quality protection measures are in place to minimise any impacts of those recreational activities.

If additional recreation and access is enabled at Yan Yean this may require new facilities or infrastructure to ensure activities can happen in a way that is safe and protects existing values.

After we hear from the community about the types of activities that are of interest in the future, we can consider if these activities can be enabled and what facilities are required to support them.

The Yan Yean Reservoir Catchment area is situated within the extent of Country held by the Wurundjeri willam clan of the Woiwurrung speaking people. The Wurundjeri community remain the traditional custodians of Yan Yean.

Melbourne Water have an ongoing relationship with Traditional Owners. We are collaborating with Traditional Owners throughout the development of the Master Plan and the engagement program we are delivering.

Yan Yean Reservoir and the closed catchment area is managed by Melbourne Water. 

Parks Victorian manages and maintains the Yan Yean Reservoir Park that is located within the Yan Yean Reservoir catchment. For more information on Parks Victoria visit the Parks Victoria website.

City of Whittlesea is a key partner of this project and Melbourne Water will continue to work with them throughout the engagement program we are delivering and masterplan development.

Parks Victoria manages and maintains the Yan Yean Reservoir park and is a key partner of this project. Melbourne Water will continue to work with Parks Victoria throughout the engagement program we are delivering and masterplan development.

Melbourne Water respectfully acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which all Australians rely. We pay our respects to Wurundjeri, Bunurong and Wadawurrung, their Elders past, present and future, as Traditional Owners and the custodians of the land and water on which we rely and operate.