|Description of this GroupDescription of this Group|
Scope of Water and Sewerage Authorities Group
The provision of water supply, irrigation and sewerage facilities in Victoria has been the responsibility of a range of central State government and local agencies. In some areas, including Melbourne and its metropolis, water supply and sewerage have been the responsibility of central State government authorities - e.g. the Victorian Water Supply Department 1865 - 1909 (VA 2787), the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission 1906 - 1984 (VA 723), the Rural Water Commission from 1984 (VA 2338) and the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works from 1891 (VA 1007). In other areas there have been a multiplicity of specially constituted local authorities, including municipal councils. These authorities have been variously known as:
Irrigation and Water Supply Districts
River Improvement Trusts
Water Supply Districts
Waterworks and Sewerage Trusts.
This group, VRG 33 Water and Sewerage Authorities, covers these local authorities and their records. For information about the central State government agencies involved in the provision of water supply, irrigation and sewerage facilities and relevant records, see VRG 36 Water Supply and VRG 84 Water Resources and entries in the Summary Guide for the individual agencies.
Central Coordination of Water Supply Function
Responsibility for overseeing and coordinating the activities of local water and sewerage authorities rested in turn with the following central State government agencies:
VA 2787 Victorian Water Supply Department 1865 - 1905
VA 723 State Rivers and Water Supply Commission 1905 - 1984
VA 641 Ministry of Water Resources and Water Supply 1984
VA 2354 Department of Water Resources 1984 to present.
In recent years the construction of waterworks has increasingly become a central government responsibility with local authorities taking responsibility for reticulation, management and distribution.
A series of Acts have provided for the constitution of local water and sewerage authorities, defined their role and responsibilities and established the supervisory role of central State government agencies. Legislation includes :
Beechworth Municipal Council's Water Works Act 1860
Water Works Act 1865
Water Commissions Act 1869
Local Governing Bodies Loan Act 1872
Water Works Act 1880
Water Conservation Acts 1881-1887
Irrigation Act 1886
Water Acts 1890, 1905, 1909, 1915, 1921, 1928, 1958
Mildura Irrigation Trusts Act 1895
Geelong Municipal Water Act 1907
Sewerage District Act 1928, 1958
Mildura Irrigation and Water Trusts 1958
Water (Irrigation) Act 1959
Water and Sewerage Authorities (Restructuring) Acts 1983, 1984.
The Water Conservation Acts 1881 - 1887 were the first attempt at comprehensive legislation, providing for the constitution and appointment of local waterworks trusts and districts, as well as defining their powers and duties, finances and conditions of supply and sale of water. During the same period, the Irrigation Act 1886 provided for the constitution of irrigation and rural water supply districts. Most local authorities were constituted under the Water Acts dating from 1890, but some had their own legislation.
Restructuring of Local Authorities 1984
The 1983 and 1984 Water and Sewerage Authorities (Restructuring) Acts provided for rationalisation of the local water industry. Although some pre-existing authorities remained, most were amalgamated into the newly constituted and larger Water Boards.
Location of Records
The Public Record Office holds the records of a number of local authorities. See List of Holdings 2nd Edition 1985, section 15.0.0.