Barwon Water's expanding recycled water network has achieved another milestone with the start of construction of a new Class A plant at Black Rock.
The high-tech facility will produce high quality recycled water for new residential growth centres, including Armstrong Creek and Torquay North, and improved Class C water for agriculture and recreation.
The project was launched today, with State Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos and business and community leaders joining Barwon Water Board Directors and staff at a symbolic sod turning ceremony at Black Rock.
Barwon Water Chairman Dr Michael King said the plant would create new and expanded recycled water opportunities, ultimately slash treated water discharges to Bass Strait and provide a sustainable water supply alternative to the booming coastal strip.
"Barwon Water research has shown overwhelming support for recycled water in sustainably managing the region's vital water supplies. This valuable resource is critical to guaranteeing water for the future.
"With Australian and Victorian government backing, Barwon Water is focused on expanding recycled water markets and delivering sustainable services to water sensitive communities in our region," Dr King said.
Mr Katos described the project as "significant and one that will deliver environmental, social and economic benefits to the people of Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast".
"Projects such as this help transform the urban environment and free up drinking water supplies," he said.
The first stage of the project will cost an estimated $42 million.
The Australian Government has allocated $10 million toward construction of the plant and a further $10 million for recycled water infrastructure for the Torquay growth corridor.
The first water sensitive residential development to utilise the new plant will be Armstrong Creek, where 22,000 homes will have access to the Class A water for gardens, car washing and toilet flushing. Recycled water also will be available for recreational areas.
The Armstrong Creek project is expected to save more than 2,400 million litres of drinking water a year, the equivalent of 960 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The recycled water network to north Torquay will service up to 2,500 homes and recreational areas and ultimately save 350 millions litres of drinking water a year.
The new facility will boost Black Rock's value as an environmental precinct.
It will complement the existing water reclamation plant, which produces Class C water for a range of purposes within the Surf Coast and greater Geelong region. Current uses include flower farming, turf growing, golf courses and sporting grounds.
The new plant will improve the quality of Class C water.
To be scaled up over time to meet demand, the plant will create new opportunities for re-use and help Barwon Water achieve several recycled water targets in its overall drive toward sustainability
The plant is expected to be commissioned in mid-2013.