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History of Salinity Management in Victoria

Dryland Salinity | Irrigation Salinity | Urban Salinity | Mapping and Monitoring Salinity Incidence | Salinity Indicator Plants

Salinity was formally recognised as a management problem in Victoria in 1949 (Downes, 1949) but, it was not until a series of wet years in the early 1970’s caused significant increases in saline areas, that active interest grew.

Hence, over the past 30 to 40 years, Victoria has tackled salinity through a series of salinity control programs.

1958First broad appraisal of dryland salinity in Victoria by the Soil Conservation Authority noting 5000 hectares of affected land
1978Salt Action Liaison team set up in the Loddon Campaspe Catchment by local landholders and community groups. They produced community guidelines and then became Project Branchout in 1984
1982Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Salinity produced Salt of the Earth: Final Report on the Causes, Effects and Control of Land and River Salinity in Victoria containing 50 major recommendations
1985Ministerial Task Force on Salinity established
Salinity Bureau established
Lead to production of 19 salinity management plans
1986First Community Salinity Grants processed
1986Salt Force News newsletter first published
1987Saltwatch program established

One important outcome was the development of a salinity strategy for Victoria; Salt Action-Joint Action – the Victorian Salinity Strategy. Released in May 1988, Salt Action – Joint Action tackled the growing salinity problems in the State. The strategy set out a systematic program for developing community-led Salinity Management Plans (SMPs) for salt affected regions.

Victoria’s Salinity Management Framework was released in 2000 by the State Government to provide a statewide plan for protecting Victoria's environment from salinity.

Saltwatch began in 1987 as is Australia’s longest running community monitoring program. Water samples are collected from local water sources (rivers, creeks, bores, channels, drains, dams, wetlands and salinity ‘hot spots’) and tested with a salinity meter. Over 1,000 schools and community groups are regularly involved in the monitoring and recording of salt levels in water across Victoria. For further information visit the Waterwatch Victoria website (external link).

Murray Darling Basin Salinity Management Strategy (external link) is a 15 year strategy from 2001 – 2015 to guide communities and governments to control salinity and protect key natural resource values within their catchments.

Downes RG (1949). 'Soil, land-use, and erosion survey around Dookie, Victoria'. CSIRO Publications.
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