Research Themes

Research priorities and themes for the MWRPP are co-developed by the Waterway Ecosystem Research Group ( and Melbourne Water through a joint workshop, conducted to identify the: strategic research questions to be addressed; broad methods to address the research questions; potential research collaborators; potential avenues for funding of the research, including external opportunities; and desired outputs for knowledge dissemination.

This approach allows research projects to be tailored to meet the strategic priorities identified in the Water Plan, and those which occur as a result of unforeseen circumstances during a Water Plan period. The current set of research themes being pursued by the MWRPP are:

A: Waterway health planning tools
Will develop and implement planning tools that will allow different management options and their associated outcomes to be evaluated. These tools will inform prioritization of restoration and protection works, as well as scales of investment from reaches to the whole region, for waterway strategies and plans.

B:Waterway hydrology and geomorphology
Will develop ecological objectives for waterway and wetland hydrology and physical form, from the scale of individual reaches through to the whole-of-catchment in urban, urbanising and rural areas.

C: Urban stormwater and rural runoff management for waterway health
Testing the effectiveness of approaches to stormwater retention, treatment and harvesting in urban and rural areas to protect waterway health. It also seeks to understand the factors influencing the maintenance of dispersed stormwater control measures on both public and private land.

D: Riparian and wetland vegetation management
Developing and testing approaches to riparian and wetland vegetation management to improve revegetation outcomes and cost effectiveness, including revegetation techniques and vegetation maintenance or protection.

E: Community participation in waterway management.
Key social research projects to drive effective community engagement in waterway protection and restoration programs, such as exploring community understandings of water in the landscape and perceptions of waterways in Melbourne, improving community engagement through volunteer work on waterways, and the social benefits of river restoration and waterway improvement works.