Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

Main Menu Search

Case Study: Western Port Biosphere

ProjectEngaging Biosphere Major Water Users in Addressing Catchment Issues Through a Water Stewardship Approach

Amount$180,000 over three years


ProgramPast Programs | Environment

This grant was approved under our previous grants policy (2014 – 2017)
Rural and regional Victoria Enable best practice water management in the Western Port community to achieve restoration of local waterways and preservation of the Biosphere
Building organisational capacity Enhance Western Port Biosphere’s capacity and outreach with the community.
Collaboration and partnership Water Stewardship Australia, Melbourne Water, South East Water, Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority, Parks Victoria, Inghams Enterprises, EPA Vic, Dept of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, local councils, businesses and community groups

Cleaning up one of Victoria's dirtiest creeks to protect and enhance the Biosphere

A collaboration between Western Port's major water users, the community, water agencies, local government and other stakeholders seeks to achieve a sustainable water balance, good water quality, good water governance and healthy water-related areas for this UNESCO-declared area.

Image Lower Watson Creek as it enters the Ramsar wetlands site and Yaringa Marine National Park

The Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve is home to internationally significant mangrove seagrass and mudflat communities, migratory bird populations and saltmarsh habitats. Located on the fringes of urban Melbourne, challenges include rapid urbanisation, port development and climate change. As a signatory to the Ramsar Convention of 1972, Australia has an international obligation to preserve and protect these areas.


  • The Biosphere project is engaging water-using companies and the community to become Water Stewards utilising the framework of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard.
  • A range of stakeholders are engaging with the project including major business, government, schools and private landholders.
  • Inghams Enterprises’ pilot site for the Water Stewardship Standard resulted in a 70% reduction in potable water demand, improvement in effluent management, and attention to local waterways, winning multiple international prizes and recognition for their work. The company’s Somerville processing plant is the second site in the world to achieve AWS certification and the first to achieve gold level.
  • The benefits of being a Water Steward include: monitoring and managing water related risks, cost savings through efficiencies, simplified compliance, potential for funding on-site works, recognition of good practice and a more secure water future.


“As a good steward and water manager, we can demonstrate to customers, community, government and regulators, that we are doing the best we possibly can with the water available to us.” Julia Seddon, Head of Business Sustainability, Ingham Enterprises.