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Latest news blog

Delivering greater value: new prices approved

The Essential Services Commission — the independent economic regulator of the water industry  today announced its approval of Barwon Water’s prices for the next 5 years, ensuring a reliable, secure and affordable water future for our region. The new prices and outcomes were shaped by an extensive 18-month community engagement program.


No bill increases next year

The commission approved our proposal for no bill increases in the 2018/2019 financial year (excluding inflation). Small increases in years 2–5 will resulting in an overall average residential bill increase of $13 by 2022/2023 (based on average annual consumption of 160 kL).

We will continue to invest in areas our customers said were important to them: helping more people in hardship, helping our customers save water, and reducing impacts on the environment through use of recycled water and renewable energy.

Over the previous 5-year pricing period our prices had reduced 7.6% (excluding inflation). By the end of the new pricing period, the average bill for a residential owner/occupier will be $163 less than in 2013 ($1,201, down to $1,038, based on an average annual consumption of 160 kL).


Better value for customers

The commission rated our submission as ‘advanced’, noting it will deliver better value for customers. It acknowledged our strong commitment to controlling costs, delivering one of the highest efficiency targets in the water sector, expected to save $26 million over the 5-year pricing period.

We already have one of the lowest bills in Australia for a water company of our size. Nationally, we are in the lowest 10% for major water corporation bills, and this next price period should see this continue.


Greater control over customer bills

The cornerstone of our price submission is an affordable and more equitable pricing structure.

We’re giving customers greater control over their bills by reducing the fixed component and increasing the variable component of water charges. This means that, more than ever, customers can save money by using less water.

In 5 years’ time all customers will pay the same price for the water they use with greater incentives and support to save water.


More highlights

  • Tripling our support for customers in financial hardship, with an extra $500,000 each year.
  • $15.4 million for renewable energy projects, based on community feedback showing strong support for climate change action.
  • An extra $500,000 annually for water efficiency programs.
  • A strong capital works program, with $328.6 million allocated for new and replacement infrastructure.


More information

  Media release issued Tuesday 19 June 2018: Delivering greater value for customers - Barwon Water’s new prices approved

  Essential Services Commission: Water Price Review 2018

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Proudly presenting our first Reconciliation Action Plan

Today we are proud to launch our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a paradigm shift in how we use our resources, run our business, and build our relationships.

Our ‘Innovate’ RAP details our journey to build better relationship with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and represents a deep and meaningful commitment to incorporate indigenous values, culture and history into our business.

Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–2020


Our service region includes parts of the traditional homelands of the Wadawurrung, Gulidjan and Gadubanud Aboriginal nations. By engaging with, and including, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, we promote recognition, respect, partnerships and opportunities. We extend our thanks particularly to Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar, Wathaurong, Kuuyang Maar and Guli Gad for helping guide us to see the land, water and environment around us through the eyes of an indigenous person. Their willingness to share knowledge and stories assists us to understand and support their cultures and histories.

In preparing this RAP, we have reflected on our existing relationships and work practices and have challenged ourselves to make significant step changes over the next two years. The RAP signifies our plans to extend our current relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into strong working partnerships, incorporating cultural values into everything we do.


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Proudly supporting Djilang

We were proud to once again officially support the Geelong Cats Djilang arts program, creating cultural connections for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Participants in the program saw their artworks unveiled at the indigenous garden, before the annual Djilang celebration round at Kardinia Park.

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Burst water main in Ocean Grove

Recent water main bursts have affected the water supply to customers in Parker Street, Wallington Road and Guthridge Street.

As a result, we are fast-tracking the replacement of the water main to ensure the system operates efficiently and effectively into the future.

To prepare for the upcoming replacement works, we will be installing a temporary water connection to those customers to minimise any ongoing supply disruptions in the weeks ahead.

Work to install valves for the temporary water connection will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 23 May.

This will result in an interruption water supply between 9 am and 1 pm.  Water supply will be restored following the work.

Bottled water will be available for customers at the worksite established on Parker Street (near number 21).  Customers can also access water from a temporary standpipe in the naturestrip between Parker Street and Guthridge Street.

On Thursday 24 May, the temporary water connection will be installed (this will be a thin plastic pipe outside the front of properties), allowing the existing water main to be taken out of service. 

The temporary supply will be required until the new water main is installed.

We have started planning the replacement project and will be working hard to get it up and running as soon as possible.

We will provide customers with an update once we have confirmed a contractor for this work.

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Geelong's water supply is unquestionably safe

Lead has been detected in water supplied from some public drinking fountains operated by the City of Greater Geelong.

This issue is not related to the quality of water supplied by Barwon Water. This is related to the council’s public drinking fountains.

Drinking water supplied through our reticulation network is unquestionably safe to drink and meets all health and safety guidelines.

As part of our comprehensive water quality monitoring program, we routinely sample for lead across our entire network on a monthly basis. We have never had a lead detection above the Australian Drinking Water Health Guideline value.

The advice from the Department of Health and Human Services is that people do not need to worry if they have consumed water from the affected fountains as these fountains are not the main source of daily water consumption.

We are continuing to work collaboratively with Council, as well as other agencies, on this issue.

If you have questions or concerns about your water quality, please contact us.

  Media release: Barwon Water 100 per cent safe

  Water quality

  Annual Drinking Water Quality Report

  City of Greater Geelong: Public drinking fountains

  Australian Drinking Water Guidelines

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Solar farm switched on

Our new one-megawatt solar farm – the largest ground-mounted array in southern Victoria – is now online, sending power to the nearby Black Rock water reclamation plant and cutting our operating costs by more than $200,000 a year.

The project is our first large-scale renewable energy endeavour and paves the way for our targets of 100% renewable energy by 2025 zero net emissions by 2030.

The 2,844 solar panels supply about 15% of the electricity needs of the water reclamation facility, equivalent to that used by 300 homes. The emissions reduction equates to taking 450 cars off the road.

A second stage expansion of the solar farm has been approved to deliver an additional two megawatts capacity by 2020.

Barwon Water’s Strategy 2030 supports the delivery of the Victorian Government’s Water for Victoria plan which sets a new long-term direction for managing our precious water resources as the state deals with the impacts of climate change and a growing population.

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Boost to Colac's water supply

The recently completed Barwon to Colac water pipeline will be switched on for the first time on Monday 30 April 2018 to boost water supplies to Colac.

The decision to use the new pipeline follows prolonged dry conditions and Colac’s water storages dipping below half-full. By switching on the back-up supply, we can maintain storages until rain fills Colac’s main sources, the West Gellibrand and Olangolah reservoirs. The decision also means that water restrictions are now highly unlikely to be required for Colac and surrounding towns.

The $19 million infrastructure project incorporates an 11-kilometre pipeline, 50 million-litre water basin and a pumping station. The project – which was fast-tracked by two years – provided stimulus for the local economy, with several contracts awarded to regionally-based businesses.

  Barwon to Colac pipeline


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Price submission rated as 'advanced' by Essential Services Commission

The Essential Services Commission – the independent economic regulator of the water industry – today released its draft determination on Barwon Water’s 2018 Price Submission.

The commission rated our submission as ‘advanced’, noting that it will deliver better value for customers.

This reflects our commitment to minimising bill impacts and improving our service levels, as identified by our customers through a deep and genuine 18-month community engagement program.

The draft determination also acknowledges our target of $19 million in cost savings – one of the highest in the industry.

Key actions from our submission include:

  • giving residential customers greater control over their bills by increasing the relative proportion of water usage charges.
  • more support for financially vulnerable customers
  • timely notice of water supply interruptions
  • programs to help customers use water more efficiently.

Barwon Water will consider the commission’s draft decision and provide a response by 8 May 2018.

Customers can review the submission and provide feedback via the Essential Services Commission’s website .

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Interested in joining the Boundary Creek and Big Swamp remediation working group?

We’re forming a working group to participate in designing a remediation plan for Boundary Creek and Big Swamp.

The formation of the working group follows a series of community and stakeholder workshops that were held in late 2017 to determine community outcomes and priorities as part of our groundwater licence application for the Barwon Downs borefield.

During these workshops, the community placed significant importance on rehabilitating Boundary Creek and Big Swamp to improve stream flow and water quality, with the goal of returning the creek to a healthy ecosystem.

Boundary Creek remediation working group:
Terms of Reference and Expression of Interest application form

PDF 122 KB

To apply to join, complete and return the application form and return to us by 5 pm, Friday 23 March 2018.

The group is scheduled to meet between April and September, 2018.

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Barwon Water recognised by Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau of Meteorology’s annual National performance report 2016–17: urban water utilities has ranked Barwon Water as a high performer across a range of customer service and quality benchmarks for the past financial year.

The report compares the performances of 79 water utilities across Australia that collectively provide more than 20 million people across the country with water and sewerage services.

We performed strongly in several key areas. A Barwon Water customer’s typical annual bill was the second lowest Australia-wide at $988, down from $1,045 the previous year.

We’re proud to be recognised for continuing to deliver high quality, affordable, secure water services and outstanding customer value.

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