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Social and Economic Benefits of Waterways

Waterway Benefits Study


The North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) recently assessed the economic and social contribution of selected waterways and waterbodies to the regional economy.

The study was completed by Street Ryan and Associates Pty. Ltd. on behalf of the NECMA, who conducted over 2,000 interviews of people using & visiting the waterways and waterbodies, local businesses and service providers.

The report, specific to North East Victoria, considered waterbodies in the Alpine Shire, Towong Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Rural City of Wangaratta and Wodonga City.

Key findings from the report included:

  • In 2017-2018 it is estimated that $25.948 million is contributed to the region from the 15 selected recreational waterways and waterbodies in the study in North East Victoria

  • Families, club groups, retired couples and friendship groups are the most frequent users of recreational water facilities

  • In 2017-18 metropolitan Melbourne contributed 45.42% of visitors to the 15 waterway or waterbody sites in the North-East region, whereas local users only contributed 16.66%

  • In the North-East Region there is a broad range of tourism experiences beyond water-based activities.  At times of the year when these broader tourism activities are not at their peak, waterways and waterbodies contribute to the overall appeal of the region and bolster visitation.

  • Water based recreation in the North-East region improves the physical and mental health of local visitors. In 2017-18 total health benefits calculated from participation at waterways and waterbodies were:

    • Physical:  Annual benefits: $1,963,146

    • Mental benefit: Annual benefits: $227,421

    • Total annual health benefit: $2,190,567

 Download the study as a PDF