Hot and dry conditions over several months have seen Geelong's water consumption soar to the highest level since the summer of 2005–2006.
Consumption reached 9,630 million litres between January and March 2013, (around 107 million litres a day) which is 4.8% higher than the 10-year average over the same period.
Over the past three months, Geelong rainfall has been at its lowest since 2009 (measured at the Montpellier water storage basin in Highton). More telling, however, are reduced inflows to the West Barwon Reservoir in the Otway Ranges. The reservoir — which supplies drinking water to greater Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast — recieved just 59.8 mm of rain in the three months to March, the lowest since electronic records began.
In contrast, Colac's water consumption was actually 10% lower than the 10-year average for the same timeframe (albeit 7.4% higher than last year and 19.8% higher than the year before). Unfortunately, the January-to-March rainfall of just 40.6 mm — the lowest since 2000 — has meant that Colac storages have dipped to their lowest in five years.
Numerous factors influence changes in water consumption, notably rainfall and water restrictions. We would like to remind our customers that the Permanent Water Saving Plan — a set of simple, common-sense rules to save water — applies every day of the year.
The Permanent Water Saving Plan currently applies across our service region with the exception of Apollo Bay and neighbouring Skenes Creek and Marengo. Barwon Water has upgraded restrictions to Stage 4 in these towns after local water storages dropped below 50% capacity for the first time since 2004. Since the restrictions were tightened, storages have slowly begun to recover and are currently at 58.4% capacity.
For daily updates of local storage levels and consumption data, weekly rainfall totals, and water graphs for the past nine years, check out our improved water storages information.
Construction of Apollo Bay's new storage basin is in full swing, with activity underway across a number of sites.
Work on the new 250-million litre basin is progressing well, with more than 145,000 cubic metres of soil removed from the site. The remaining 40,000 cubic metres will be excavated before winter.
About 360 metres of the 2.2 kilometre pipeline between the new storage and new river pump station has been installed and 27 of 30 structural piles have been driven at the river pump station site.
Construction will be undertaken seven days a week for the next six weeks to ensure as much work as possible can be completed before winter. There will be as many as 65 people working on the project at various locations each day.
Work is currently on track to have the new system operating in 2014.
This project is being delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.
We will spend almost half a million dollars upgrading water mains in central Colac over the next two months.
The $480,000 project involves replacing 970 metres of water mains in Bromfield, Connor and Rae streets. Trenchless technology will be used to minimise disruption.
The existing 75 mm pipes were laid in 1925 and have reached the end of their operational life.
At double the diameter, the new 150 mm pipes will improve supply reliability.
Construction has started in Connor Street between Scott and Hart street.
Barwon Water is reviewing its monitoring program for the Barwon Downs borefield in the Otways.
The borefield is a crucial drought reserve for the regional communities of Geelong, Surf Coast, Bellarine and parts of the Golden Plains.
At the height of the recent drought, the worst on record, the borefield provided up to 70% of Geelong's drinking water when storages plummeted to 14%
It has been switched off since 2010 and monitoring is showing underground water levels have been recovering at a steady rate since then.
The monitoring network currently consists of a series of bores and observation points that enable measurement of changes to the environment as a result of groundwater extraction.
While the network is extensive, it could be enhanced by installing additional monitoring facilities that would provide more comprehensive information on groundwater behaviour.
The first stage of providing better monitoring facilities involves some site inspections, which are being carried out by consultants SKM and Ecology Australia in April 2013. This will include inspecting bore sites and taking measurements at observation bores. Up to five field workers will be in the area during April.
The monitoring program review will include investigations into water quality, stream flows, ecosystems near the borefield and groundwater recharge rates.
The first stage of the review will help determine whether additional monitoring equipment is required to better understand groundwater processes.
The Barwon Downs community will be consulted and kept informed throughout the review. As part of the longer term engagement strategy, it is proposed to establish a Barwon Downs Community Reference Group.
No construction work on any additional monitoring assets will start before consultation with the reference group and the wider community.
Stage 4 water restrictions will be introduced in the coastal townships of Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek next week to combat falling storage levels.
Restrictions will apply from Monday 25 March 2013 and be reviewed again in April.
A prolonged dry spell has left Marengo basin at 51.2% capacity. This time last year the basin was holding 90%.
Hot, dry weather since the beginning of the year has caused a sharp decline in the town's supply. The tougher restrictions have been introduced ahead of the tourist influx at Easter.
Under Stage 4 restrictions, drinking water cannot be used at any time to water residential, public or commercial lawns and gardens, or sporting grounds.
When washing vehicles at home or at a commercial car wash, only windows, mirrors and lights can be washed using a bucket filled directly from a tap.
Drinking water cannot be used to top up an existing residential or commercial pool or spa of any capacity, except by using a bucket or watering can. New and existing pools and spas cannot be filled using drinking water.
A new 250-million litre basin currently under construction is expected to be operational in 2014 and will meet forecast growth until 2055.
We would like to thank all our customers in Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo for their continued cooperation.
It can be hard work being a prep student - learning new things, making friends and having fun in the playground.
To help students stay hydrated, we provide each prep with a free, reusable plastic water bottle.
The program, which has been running for almost 20 years, has provided about 85,000 bottles to schools across the region.
The special 500 mL transparent bottles are BPA-free and fully recyclable. These bottles are available exclusively to prep students in the Barwon Water service area.
Interested local schools can contact our Education Officer, Fernando Garcia, to reserve their bottles.
The Victorian Coalition Government invites suitably qualified and experienced people to register an expression of interest for board director positions for the 19 Victorian water corporations with terms of office commencing on 1 October 2013.
The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring that boards are well positioned to address the concerns and issues of customers in their water service area. Local residents and water customers are encouraged to apply for their local water corporation.
Expressions of interest close at 5.00 pm on Friday 5 April 2013.
Work on a $1.3 million upgrade of Bostock Reservoir, near Ballan, is about to begin.
The reservoir will be temporarily closed to the public next week from Tuesday 12 to Friday 15 March 2013. Anglers please note: fishing in the reservoir is prohibited during this period as divers complete specialist work. Construction will continue after this time, but we will maintain public access for fishing and picnicking.
The upgrade involves replacing a 280 metre pipeline under the reservoir embankment and an underwater valve. The project will increase supply to the Upper Stony Creek reservoirs which in turn supply the greater Geelong region.
This project is being delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance. It is expected to be completed in mid-2013.
Work on the Black Rock Recycled Water Plant project began in January 2012 and is now around 95% complete.
The new plant is being built adjacent to the existing Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre. The facilities are part of the larger Black Rock Environmental Precinct, which also incorporates a biosolids drying plant, recycled water share farm, bicycle path and buffer land.
When complete, the recycled water plant will take treated water from the existing water reclamation plant and refine it with several treatment phases including ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection and chlorine disinfection. The resultant Class A recycled water will be available for new 'purple pipe' residential developments at Armstrong Creek and Torquay North.
Barwon Water doesn't manage or regulate septic tanks (it's a local council function) but we do treat septic waste. Contractors pump out septic tanks and deliver the effluent to our reclamation plants for treatment.
Septic tanks require regular maintenance. We recommend you:
We may not accept poorly managed or contaminated septic waste.
For more information on septic tanks and how to manage your septic waste system, please contact your local council.