Water for Victoria, Victoria’s Water Plan highlighted that the water sector was responsible for around 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions for which the State government is responsible. To help achieve the State’s target of net zero emissions (NZE) by 2050, all sectors of government activity are required to participate in the TAKE2Pledge program.
This is a challenge to which the Water Corporations have responded enthusiastically. They are developing a range of measures to reduce energy use and associated emissions. However, some water corporations face significant challenges in reducing fugitive emissions from their waste water treatment plants and are considering the use of offsets.
Water for Victoria identified opportunities to progress the State’s NZE target through local, collaborative projects between Water Corporations and Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs). These catchment carbon offsets projects would provide emissions abatement, various complementary environmental and climate resilience benefits and help to implement the CMAs’ Climate change and natural resource management plans.
The catchment carbon offsets trial has been developed to test the collaborative catchment carbon offsets concept. The paper will report on a case study in the Gellibrand River catchment, which tested the practical feasibility of the concept and assessed the extent to which it can offset greenhouse emissions, build climate resilience in riparian environments and improve the quality of water entering Wannon Water’s drinking water supply system. It will also discuss the tools and work flow by which other CMAs and Water Corporations may design and evaluate multi-benefit carbon offset projects.