VCE programs

Print Page

AoS 2: Water Management

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels
Unit 3 — How can Biodiversity and Development be Sustained?


Environmental management is concerned with the understanding of the structure and function of the earth systems, as well as of the ways in which humans relate to their environment. Environmental management is therefore concerned with the description and monitoring of environmental changes, with predicting future changes and with attempts to maximise human benefit and to minimise environmental degradation due to human activities.

Students will look at management of water allocations in the Werribee River, in particular looking at the Werribee River Environmental Water Management Plan. They will investigate how this plan is being monitored as well as stakeholders and risk assessments. They will then visit one of the monitoring sites below Merrimu Reservoir and carry out water quality, macroinvertebrate sampling and frog surveys, where possible.

Prior Knowledge

Students will be asked to refer to a series of fact sheets before their excursion to give them a background into Environmental Water.

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Examine water allocation in the Werribee River and assess the environmental impacts and risks associated with this
  • Examine the elements of environmental management and its relationship to sustainability principles
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the environmental management plan implemented by Melbourne Water
  • Determine the stakeholders involved, including community, business, industry and government agency where relevant
  • Evaluate scientific data related to the monitoring of Environmental Water allocation


Students will:

  • Use the app “Run the River” to investigate water allocation in a river system
  • Participate in a role play investigating stake holders and the values system used to decide who gets the water
  • Investigate the environmental management strategy in place collecting primary data from one of the Melbourne Water monitoring sites using field work
  • Analyse past data from monitoring carried out at Goodman’s and Pyrites Creek

VCE links

Case study overview

  • The aim and strategies proposed for addressing the environmental science challenges associated with the selected case study.

Sustainability principles

  • The variations in definitions of sustainability and the distinction between sustainability and sustainable development.
  • Sustainability principles as they apply to environmental management: conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity; efficiency of resource use; intergenerational equity; intragenerational equity; precautionary principle; and user pays principle.
  • Challenges to upholding sustainability principles, including population, food, water and energy.

Environmental decision-making and management

  • Circular economy thinking and tools for integrated sustainability assessment, including qualitative risk analysis, and cost-benefit analysis.
  • Interconnections and tensions between factors that influence responsible decision-making, including diverse stakeholder values, knowledge and priorities, regulatory frameworks that inform environmental management strategies, use and interpretation of historical and current scientific data, and application of new technologies.