About the Wimmera Catchment

Our vision for the region is for a healthy Wimmera catchment where a resilient landscape supports a sustainable and profitable community.

Water, land and biodiversity

The Wimmera region covers approximately 10% of Victoria and is the fifth largest catchment management region in Victoria, encompassing 2.3 million hectares.

The landscape is dominated by broadacre cropping, covering 1.2 million hectares or 53% of the region. The gross value of agricultural production in the Wimmera in 2015-16 was $691 million. Farm cash income was $378,000 in 2019-20 compared to $184,000 in 2018-19. Median property size is 765 hectares and increasing.(2)

Figure 2: The Wimmera region

The Wimmera’s waterways are oases in a relatively dry landscape. Major catchments include the Wimmera Basin and the eastern part of the Millicent Coast Basin. The Barringgi Gadyin (Wimmera River) is the largest Victorian river that does not flow to the sea, instead flowing to Victoria’s largest freshwater wetland, Gurru (Lake Hindmarsh), then into Ramsar listed Ngalpakatia/Ngelpagutya (Lake Albacutya) and beyond. Ramsar refers to the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance.

The Wimmera contains 25% of Victoria’s wetlands which are predominantly in the south west of the region. This area also contains a valuable groundwater resource, supporting a significant irrigation and grazing industry.

The Pyrenees Range, Gariwerd (Grampians National Park), Burrunj (Black Range State Park) and Dyurrite (Mt Arapiles) are predominant in the landscape. These reserves, along with the Little Desert National Park, are the largest in the region and are significant areas for biodiversity and recreation. Along with the many small and medium bush and wetland reserves scattered throughout the region, they support regional liveability, health and wellbeing, and environmental, socio- economic and cultural values. Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) alone attracts approximately one million people per year and is the second most popular national park in Victoria


The Wimmera’s population is approximately 50,000 with around one third of residents living on farms or in small townships with less than 2,000 people.

First Nations people are represented by Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BGLC) and Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. There is a deep and continuing connection between First Nations people and Country with many significant features linking directly to creation stories.

Health and wellbeing are influenced by a range of catchment management factors including the health of the local environment, access to recreational opportunities and connection with the community. The overall health status for the Wimmera community is poorer than the state average in many indicators. This is more pronounced in children and young people.

Wimmera Primary Care Partnership’s 2020 population health and wellbeing profile recognises there is a positive relationship between visits to green space and a range of health benefits. Residents of the Wimmera visited green space less than the state average. Despite this, residents in the Wimmera are more likely to attend community events and the meetings or social events of local clubs and groups than the state average.(3) Regional Landcare leaders have reported that volunteer numbers are generally steady overall but patchy and fluctuating at a local level. Some groups have increased volunteers while others have decreased indicating that the trends for Landcare may be different to other activities.

Sixty-three per cent of farmers work full-time on farm hours, and they manage 90% of the agricultural land. Approximately 32% of landholders are members of Landcare while 28% are members of agricultural commodity groups.(4)

Local Areas

The five Local Areas in the Wimmera Regional Catchment Strategy focus on distinct parts of the region and explain how the themes come together and integrate in each place. The Local Areas are based around local government and catchment boundaries. This recognises the importance of local community ownership, participation and management and demonstrates integrated catchment management.
The Local Areas in this strategy are:

  1. Hindmarsh
  2. Horsham
  3. West Wimmera
  4. Yarriambiack and Buloke
  5. Upper Catchment (including parts of Ararat, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees local government areas).