Water security boost for Geelong

Barwon Water is calling upon backup water sources — the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline and Barwon Downs borefield — to provide security for greater Geelong in response to prolonged dry conditions.

Barwon Water will access the Victorian water grid via the 59-kilometre Melbourne to Geelong pipeline, beginning next month. We have notified Melbourne Water of our intention to access up to 6 gigalitres (6 billion litres) over the coming year. Melbourne’s supplies will be topped-up via the Wonthaggi desalination plant, due to be switched on next summer.

Barwon Water customers will not pay extra; our prices are locked-in until June 2018. In fact, water prices are going down 1.6% a year, on average, excluding inflation.

We are also readying the Barwon Downs borefield — a critical back-up source previously called upon to supplement supplies in drought conditions.

We will continue to monitor storage levels, consumption patterns and weather forecasts.

The Permanent Water Saving Plan remains in place.


How low are Geelong’s storages?

Geelong’s water storages are currently at 38.3% capacity – the lowest since August 2010. This time last year, they were 63.9% full.

At the height of worst drought on record, storages dropped to 14.2% (May 2007).


Will I pay more for this extra water?

No. Prices are locked in until June 2018 under Barwon Water’s 2013–2018 Water Plan. This includes an average annual decrease of 1.6%, excluding CPI.


Will the water taste different?

Some customers may notice a change to the taste of their water when sources are changed. This is normal and all water supplied is 100% safe to drink.


Why aren’t we on water restrictions?

Barwon Water invested heavily in water security infrastucture during and following the last drought — an investment that is now being called upon.

The Permanent Water Saving Plan — common-sense rules to save water every day — remains in place.

Staged water restrictions are now a last resort so Geelong can still maintain its liveability even as drying conditions continue.


Will I receive desalinated water?

No. The Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline connects Geelong's storage basins at Lovely Banks with Melbourne's water supply network at Cowies Hill, west of Werribee. Melbourne’s supply network would be topped up via the desalination plant near Wonthaggi.

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