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Sustainability & climate change

Sustainability & climate change

We support the health and prosperity of our region by providing sustainable water solutions to our customers and communities.

Doing good for the planet

Doing good for the planet

Climate change is a serious threat to the economy, long term water availability and the community we serve. Australia’s water resources will be heavily affected by drought and extreme weather in the decades to come. Developing ways to protect and maximise these constrained resources is essential.

Our work has an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, discharges to waterways and the availability of water for the environment. Our priority is to ensure that our water and wastewater services are resilient to climate change, drought and population growth.

Learn more about some of the things we’re already doing to prepare for the impacts of climate change below.

Our Environment Ambition

To make a positive contribution to conserving and protecting the environment and help our communities to build resilience and adapt to climate change. We will achieve this by:

  • Understanding and reducing our environmental footprint, including our greenhouse gas emissions
  • Proactively preventing and reducing pollution through the regular setting of environmental objectives
  • Using science to understand our performance, and scenarios to plan for an uncertain future
  • Maturing our risk management framework through integrating environmental risk including climate risk
  • Enhancing biodiversity and showcasing land stewardship through partnerships
  • Operating in accordance with all relevant environmental legislation, regulations, licences, permits and approvals; including voluntary standards and commitments.

Our Environment Strategy

Our Environment Strategy provides commitment and guidance on a sustainable pathway to minimising our impacts on the environment and mitigating and adapting to climate change.

View our Environment Strategy here

Working towards carbon neutrality

The water industry generates a quarter of the Victorian Government’s overall emissions. Work is underway across the sector to reduce this footprint, with a net-zero emissions target by 2035.

North East Water is committed to 100% electricity generated by renewables by 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2035. We will do this by:

  • increasing energy efficiency to directly reduce emissions, by minimising the amount of energy we use
  • increasing the use of renewable energy to reduce indirect grid emissions
  • using carbon abatement to offset any remaining emissions.

Generating our own electricity

We have solar installations at three sites across our sevice region. They provide renewable energy to power each facility with excess electricity sent to the grid, offsetting our other operational sites. The installations include:

  • a 3MW solar farm at the Wodonga wastewater treatment plant
  • a 100kW carpark solar system at our regional head office in Wodonga
  • a 40kW solar array and 42kWh lithium ion battery bank at the Yackandandah water treatment plan

We are also planning a major capacity upgrade to Wodonga's sewage treatment plant which will greatly reduce the amount of carbon emissions it produces. The upgrade will also lead to the more efficient and effective reuse of waste to create renewable energy which can also power the plant or be sent to the electricity grid.

Learn more about this project here

Conserving water from the environment

We manage our activities to ensure that environmental flows are never compromised and that nature receives adequate water to sustain healthy ecosystems. This includes having a robust strategy for managing our water supply-demand balance, engaging with the community on responsible water use, planning for future growth and maximising the integrity of our assets.

Protecting and promoting healthy waterways

At times, we discharge nutrients and other pollutants to local waterways from our sewers and treatment plants. Our aim is to have no net impact on our waterways. We will do this by updating and building infrastructure to address growth and capacity restraints as well as maximising the integrity of our assets.

Sustainable Development Goals

We're committed to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, embracing the opportunity to be regional leaders in substantially addressing global challenges.

Learn more about our SDG's here

How you can help

Being careful with how much water you use, not only means you're saving a precious resource, but also helps reduce carbon emmissions. The less water you use, the less energy is used to treat and pump your drinking water.

Take a look at this video our staff put together to highlight how water conservation saves more than just water.

Become more water wise here

Want to know more?

For more information about sustainability in the Victorian water sector, visit the below pages.

Climate change and the water sector

Integrated Water Management Program