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This Vision and Transition Strategy defines a vision of a water sensitive future for Bendigo, Victoria, and outlines the broad steps Bendigo should take to enable a transition towards this future. It is the outcome of nine months of research, analysis and engagement with 31 community champions and 47 leading thinkers from across water, planning, development and the environment in Bendigo. The project developed and applied methods and tools of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) designed to consider a city’s long-term water aspirations, benchmark current water sensitive performance and explore strategic priorities for the short- to medium-term that will be important in pursuing its water sensitive city vision. These approaches have helped situate Bendigo on its water sensitive city transition journey and identified the critical interventions to enable progress.

Bendigo’s water story: Bendigo has a unique heritage in hosting, for a time, the most lucrative gold deposit in Australia. This has created an important cultural legacy but also a highly disturbed landscape with fragile natural resources. This is arguably best represented by Bendigo Creek, which fulfils the multiple roles of Bendigo’s first encounter with gold, its primary urban stormwater drainage channel, the site of several groundwater management issues, and the city’s most prominent linear recreational trail. In addition to its current challenges, to retain its prized liveability, Bendigo will have to plan wisely to adequately service a growing population in a warming and drying climate.

Bendigo’s water sensitive vision: The 50 year vision is for Bendigo to be a thriving inland city, where water innovation supports healthy people, green environments and resilient systems. The vision encompasses a set of three central outcomes that define the benefits for communities living in Bendigo, reinforced by the three surrounding outcomes that describe important enabling conditions for achieving the vision.

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