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Latest news blog

Recycled water release: Portarlington and Indented Head

We have applied to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria for approval to release recycled water into Port Phillip Bay at Indented Head.

The Portarlington Water Reclamation Plant treats domestic wastewater from Portarlington, Indented Head and St Leonards. It supplies Class C recycled water to the Scotchmans Hill vineyard and Portarlington Golf Club.

Due to the combination of high winter rainfall and low local demand for recycled water, inflow volumes to the treatment plant are up to 4 times higher than normal, our storage lagoons are full, and we urgently need to release excess recycled water.

Under the application, the recycled water would be discharged over Barwon Water land adjacent to the treatment facility and then via the stormwater system to the bay at Indented Head.

Map showing the location of the Portarlington Water Reclamation Plant  and proposed recycled water discharge site. View larger map.

Near-saturated ground ruled out the option of irrigating nearby Barwon Water tree lots. Transporting the recycled water by road would mean 10–15 semi trailers daily around the clock for the next 3 months — an unacceptably high amount of local heavy vehicle traffic.

The discharge is proposed under a temporary approval from EPA Victoria. We have undertaken an ecological risk assessment and will take regular water samples as part of a rigorous and ongoing monitoring program. Samples will be analysed at an independent laboratory and the results supplied to the EPA.

The excess recycled water is Class C recycled water, already certified under EPA guidelines, and is suitable for irrigating public open spaces, sporting fields, and certain crops.

We continue to work with local residents and stakeholder agencies including the City of Greater Geelong, Parks Victoria, Department of Primary Industries, Bellarine Bayside and the Indented Head Community Association throughout this process.

We are investigating options to avoid emergency recycled water discharges in the future. Options under consideration include increasing the capacity of the plant and transferring recycled water to the much larger Black Rock treatment facility in Connewarre via the sewerage network.

If you have comments or concerns, please contact us.


  Media release: Recycled water release

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Water rebates extended

The Victorian Government "Living Victoria Water Rebate Program" has been extended for a further 3 years (until 30 June 2015).

The program has also been expanded by increasing rebates on rainwater tanks and including more eligible small businesses.

Image shows a resaurant kitchen - just one example of the many small businesses that are now eligible to claim rebates on water efficient products and appliances.

Businesses with up to 50 employees are now eligible to claim rebates on selected water-wise products.

Under the current phase of the program, household rebates for rainwater tanks have increased:

  • $850 for tanks 2000–3999 litres connected to a toilet and/or laundry (previously $500).
  • $1300 for tanks 4000 litres and over connected to a toilet or laundry (previously $900).
  • $1500 for tanks 4000 litres and over connected to toilet and laundry (previously $1000).
  • $500 for tank to toilet connections — existing rainwater tanks 2000 litres and over (previously $200).

Rainwater tank rebates are now also open to homes that were built before the introduction of the 6-star building standard (1 May 2011).

Small businesses of up to 50 employees (previously up to 20 employees) can also apply for rebates for a range or water efficient products.

Businesses can now make multiple claims (previously one claim) for 50% off eligible products, up to a maximum rebate of $2000.


More information

  Rebates for waterwise products (residential customers)

  Rebates for waterwise products (small businesses ≤50 employees)

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Direct Debit now even easier

Setting up a Direct Debit arrangement is now even easier, thanks to our new Direct Debit SmartForm.

The new form can be completed and submitted entirely online.

  SmartForm: Direct Debit request

Please contact us if you need help accessing or completing this form.

You can now set up a Direct Debit arrangement online.

With Direct Debit you can pay your bill with automatic deductions from your nominated bank account. You can choose to pay:

  • in full on the due date, or
  • in fixed weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments.

Direct Debit gives you greater control of your finances and saves you time. There are no additional fees or charges to use Direct Debit.

  Bill payment options


The fine print

  • Direct Debit is currently available for deductions from savings and cheque accounts, but not credit cards.
  • Your bank account is normally debited on the due date or the next working day.
  • It is your responsibility to have sufficient funds in your bank account when funds are drawn.

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Apollo Bay water storage information kiosk this Saturday

A key focus of our 2013-2018 Water Plan is upgrading the water supply to Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek.

A new 250 million litre water storage will meet forecast growth, and spell the end of summer water restrictions in these towns.

Photograph of the foreshore at Apollo Bay.

Visit us at the Apollo Bay market and learn more about the new water storage project.

In addition to the new basin, the project includes replacing the existing Barham River pump station, building a new transfer pump station, and laying the connecting pipelines.

Visit us at the Apollo Bay community market and find out more about this exciting infrastructure project.


9 am — 1 pm

Saturday 4 August 2012


Apollo Bay community market

Great Ocean Road, between the surf life saving club and tourist information centre.

Planning permit applications for the works are currently with the Colac Otway Shire.  Construction is due to begin later this year.

This project is being delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.


More information

  Apollo Bay water supply

  Apollo Bay water supply community information bulletin June 2012


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Joel Corey gets hands dirty for Schools Tree Day

Barwon Water youth and environment ambassador Joel Corey joined students and staff from Forrest Primary School to plant 250 native trees and shrubs at the West Barwon Reservoir as part of Schools Tree Day celebrations last week.

Ahead of his milestone game at the weekend, Joel braved wet and muddy conditions, working alongside the grade 3 to 6 students and Barwon Water staff to revegetate an area downstream of the dam with species indigenous to the area.

Forrest Primary School students Britt Coulter and Claire Mcdonald planting a native sapling with help from youth and environment ambassador Joel Corey with and Barwon Water's Khan Beckett.

The planting area was previously populated by introduced willows which were removed and now form a layer of compost from which the new trees will grow. The plantation will include a number of indigenous species, including:

  • Blackwood Wattle (Acacia melonoxylon)
  • Purple Appleberry (Billardiera longifolia)
  • Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis)
  • Prickly Teatree (Leptospermum continentale).

The local students came well prepared for Forrest's wet weather, donning gumboots and raincoats and weren't afraid to get muddy for a good cause. Joel repaid the favour, signing footballs in between planting saplings.

We would like to extend our thanks to the staff and students of Forrest Primary School, the Forrest Lions Club (who supplied a barbecue lunch for the hungry planters) and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority for assistance in planning the day.

  More photos on Flickr

  More photos on Facebook

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New MD appointed

Joe Adamski has been appointed the new Managing Director of Barwon Water on a 4 year contract.

His appointment was announced today by Board Chairman Dr Michael King. Joe has been interim MD since March when Michael Malouf stepped down.

The appointment follows an exhaustive Australia-wide search that attracted 42 applicants.

Joe welcomed the opportunity to lead Barwon Water through a dynamic and challenging environment and outlined his priorities of reliable service delivery, customer affordability, business efficiency, community and stakeholder engagement and planning to meet future growth.

As Managing Director, Joe will be responsible for a business with annual revenue turnover of $205 million, a $2 billion asset base and more than 400 full-time staff.


About Joe Adamski

Joe Adamski joined Barwon Water in 1987 as Manager of Information Systems after 12 years at Telstra (then Telecom) as an analyst and senior project manager.

He has held several executive roles at Barwon Water, the most recent being General Manager of Strategy and Technology.

Joe holds a Bachelor of Science, Graduate Diploma in Risk Management and Advanced Management Certificate.

Educated at the former Chanel College (Geelong), the Gordon Institute of Technology and Deakin University, he is a former Chairman of St Joseph's College Board of Management and maintains a strong interest in the school.

Joe is a member of several key water industry groups, including VicWater, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and Australian Water Association (AWA).

  Media release: Barwon Water appoints new MD

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Fats block sewer pipe in Lara

A build up of fat in a sewer main has blocked a sewer main and caused a minor overflow.

Our crews were dispatched shortly after the spill was reported at Nanton Close, Lara, earlier today.

A small amount of sewage overflowed from a manhole into nearby Hovell Creek. We have taken water quality samples and erected warning signs at the site. As a precaution, residents should avoid contact with the creek water.

Fats, oils, food scraps, medicines and toiletries often accumulate in the sewerage system and can cause odours, blockages and overflows. We ask our customers to dispose of these items in their household rubbish — not down the drain or toilet.

Customers can report overflows, burst and leaks to us on 1300 656 007: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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West Barwon Reservoir spilling: video

The West Barwon Reservoir, greater Geelong's most significant drinking water catchment, is full and overflowing for the first time in a decade.

Consistent rain over the last month has seen the reservoir spill for the first time since July 2002. The spill began on Wednesday 27 June 2012 and continues.

Check out our video, below, for some rarely seen footage of the iconic reservoir at capacity.

The reservoir's spill has flow-on benefits for our environment. During June, more than 200 million litres of water have been released for environmental flows. This environmental release, together with the water going over the spillway, will benefit the river and the environment immediately downstream of the reservoir.

In another milestone for our water storages, the Korweinguboora, Bostock and West Barwon reservoirs are now spilling simultaneously for the first time since the mid 1990s. Other reservoirs that are spilling include the West Gellibrand, Olangolah, Allen and Painkalac reservoirs.


More information

  Geelong's water supply system

  Geelong's water storages

  Our region's water storages

  This video and more on our YouTube channel

  Check out the photos on our Facebook page

  Even more photos on our Flickr Photostream


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2013 Water Plan: feedback closes soon

We would like your input on our draft 2013 Water Plan.

Feedback is welcome until Tuesday 31 July 2012 — less than 4 weeks away.

The Water Plan sets our strategic direction for the next 5 years (2013–2018). It details our service standards, business initiatives, expenditure forecasts, infrastructure plans and prices.

Water Plan 2013–2018


Key proposals outlined in the draft plan include:

  • minimising price increases to just 1% per year (excluding CPI) for the next 5 years
  • expanding and securing Colac's water supply
  • continued high levels of customer service.

Feedback should be made in writing to:

Barwon Water, Strategy and Regulation Team, PO Box 659 Geelong VIC 3220



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New water charges from 1 July 2012

Barwon Water's Board today approved water and sewerage charges for the 2012–2013 financial year in line with the Essential Services Commission's 2008 pricing determination.

Charges across residential and business sectors will rise 8.69% (including CPI of 1.58%).

For a typical residential customer using 165 kilolitres of water a year, the price rise equates to an additional $1.63 a week or $84.96 a year. Bills will vary depending on usage

The new charges are effective from 1 July 2012.

The tariff revenue will fund projects to ensure supply security and maintain quality services.

Major infrastructure projects underway include the Black Rock Recycled Water Plant ($19.7m), Apollo Bay water storage upgrade ($14.5m), Armstrong Creek recycled water pipeline ($9.m) and Armstrong Creek trunk sewer ($8.6m).

  Fees and charges: residential customers

  Fees and charges: business customers


Earlier this week, the Essential Services Commission approved an additional 3% increase to water volume and water service charges only to cover the cost of constructing the Melbourne to Geelong pipeline. Sewerage charges will not change.

The 3% increase will take effect only once the pipeline can supply water. This is expected in October. We will advise customers of the new charges before they come into effect.

The additional 3% will take the total increase for water to 11.74% overall.


Have your say on our next 5-year plan

The Water Plan is a 5-year business plan that details our service standards, business initiatives, expenditure forecasts, infrastructure plans and prices.

The plan must be approved by the Essential Services Commission (ESC) and prices must be ratified by the ESC annually.
The 2012–2013 financial year is the last year in our previous 5-year Water Plan 2008–2013, which was approved by the ESC in June 2008.

Our draft Water Plan for the next 5 years, 2013-2018, is now open for public comment. A key proposal in the new draft plan is minimising price increases to just 1% per year (excluding CPI) for the next 5 years.

  Water Plan 2013–2018

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