Greater Melbourne
City Portrait

Powered by Regen Melbourne

Ecological CeilingSocial FoundationThe safe and just space for Greater Melbourne •


The Melbourne Doughnut

Explore how well Melbourne is tracking as a place that supports people and planet to thrive.

Dimension profile



Water is a basic necessity for drinking, sanitation and hygiene. Beyond this, waterways are integral to our physical and cultural landscape and Melbourne’s identity. Caring for our water system not only meets our needs for safe, clean water for consumption, but also ensures ecological health and enhances wellbeing through connections to nature and each other.

Principles for Water in a regenerative Melbourne

Our water system in a regenerative Melbourne must be:

  • Equitably operated to ensure that fit-for-purpose water supplies are available and affordable to all
  • Resilient, balancing human and ecological needs in the face of changing climate conditions
  • Designed and managed to enhance place-specific cultural, social and environmental connections

What we want



Everyone in Melbourne has enough safe, fit-for-purpose water to meet personal and household needs

What we're measuring 2030 Target Now

Complaints to water businesses per year

Under 1 per 100 customers 0.73 per 100 customers

Proportion of residential customers receiving hardship grants from water retailers

0% 0.5%


Not yet defined

Melbourne’s waterways are respected and celebrated for the cultural, ecological and social value they provide

What we're measuring
No sufficiently relevant data identified yet -- --

Placing Water in the system

Local to global connections

The catchments for Melbourne’s waterways extend beyond the borders of Greater Melbourne. Likewise, Melburnians source drinking water from catchments outside of the metropolitan area. As a result, actions and water management practices at a regional scale have a direct impact on water availability in Melbourne, and conversely, actions in Melbourne have flow-on effects outside of the city.

Learn more

How was this dimension developed?

The Water dimension of the Greater Melbourne City Portrait, including the conceptual framing and data selection, has been developed in collaboration with sector experts from academia, government and industry. A detailed description of the City Portrait methodology is outlined in the About section of the website.

Where can I access the data?

Data for Water, along with the other Social Founation dimensions are available in the Social Foundations Dataset.

For Ecological Celing dimensions, see the Ecological Ceiling Dataset.

Where can I find more information on Water in a regenerative Melbourne?

The City Portrait is informed by extensive research and resources on Doughnut Economics and related frameworks, as well as sector-specific research associated with each dimension. More detailed research that has informed the Water dimension is available to explore via Altiorem's library.

How can I get involved?

To get involved with ongoing development of the City Portrait or learn more about Regen Melbourne, email