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Carbon Reforestation Offsets

Why is Southern Rural Water considering carbon offsets?

Southern Rural Water is assessing land holdings across southern Victoria (including sites at Lake Glenmaggie, Lake Merrimu and Blue Rock Lake), to see if there are suitable locations to undertake carbon reforestation offset projects that could help us achieve our net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

Carbon reforestation offsets involve planting trees to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and contribute to reducing the effects of climate change. 

We are already reducing our greenhouse gas emissions through the installation of solar panels and the purchase of green energy. Planting trees to generate carbon offsets is another way of reducing our climate change impacts which we are currently exploring.

What is the process?

We are in the early stages of investigation and are in the process of appointing a qualified forestry expert to assess the suitability of land owned by Southern Rural Water for planting carbon offsets. This will include an assessment of any bushfire risks to the community, cultural heritage matters, impacts on visual amenity and land suitability for planting.

Timelines for assessment and consultatio. May 2024 - Expert site assessments. July 2024 - Expert assessment received. August 2024 - Community consultation. September 2024 - Proposal finalised after consideration is given  to community feedback on expert assessments.

What consultation are you doing?

Our starting point was to offer to meet in person with people who have access rights to Southern Rural Water land to ensure they were briefed. 

The forestry expert will require access to our land and it is important to us that those with access rights to our land are aware of the assessment approach before we have people on site.

Once the forestry expert has completed their assessment (expected to be July 2024) the local community will have the opportunity to provide feedback to Southern Rural Water on the findings.

Have any decisions been made?

No decisions have been made on whether to proceed with any plantings, nor will they be, until advice from the forestry expert is received and the community has had an opportunity to provide feedback on any proposal we develop based on the forestry assessment. 

Why will Blue Rock be assessed for its suitability?

Southern Rural Water is assessing land holdings across southern Victoria, including land surrounding Blue Rock Lake. 

Will every parcel of land being explored be selected?

No. We are assessing 376 hectares of land holdings across southern Victoria with consideration being given to planting up to 200 hectares for carbon offsets. 

The final decision on any land parcels to proceed with planting will be made based on the outcomes of the forestry expert’s assessment and community feedback. 

Map of investigation areas surround Blue Rock Lake

What is the bushfire risk of this project?

Community safety is paramount in every decision we make. If the forestry expert’s assessment is that plantings will add bushfire risk to the community of Willow Grove or local landowners, we will not proceed with planting in those parcels of land.

How will the project impact visual amenity of surrounding areas?

We will ensure the community has an opportunity to provide feedback after the forestry expert’s assessment. The discussion with the local community will include any potential impacts on visual amenity.