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Latest news blog

West Barwon Reservoir overflows again

The West Barwon Reservoir began overflowing at the weekend following three months of above-average rainfall.

The reservoir, located near Forrest in the Otway Ranges National Park, is the region’s second-largest surface water storage after Wurdee Boluc Reservoir, which is also at capacity.

The West Barwon Reservoir is spilling. Image credit: Mandy Bishop, Forrest Post.

Water started flowing over the reservoir spillway on Sunday 24 November 2013 at rate of about 450 million litres a day.

The reservoir overflowed for the first time in a decade in July, last year, and spilled several times between July and October 2012.

It is unusual to see the dam spilling in late spring. The last time it overflowed in November was 2001.

August rainfall in the West Barwon catchment was 71% above average, while in September and October it was approximately 28% above average.

  Water storages: Geelong region

  YouTube: West Barwon Reservoir spill July 2012


Public access restricted

Due to road resurfacing works, there is currently no access to the reservoir via Forrest-Apollo Bay Road. Works are expected to be complete by the weekend.

There is limited pedestrian access downsteam of the spillway via Kannglang Road, Forrest.

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Customer billing issues

Barwon Water has been experiencing issues with its customer billing system.

We are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience.

Affected customers will receive a letter with their bill in the coming weeks detailing new payment dates. Your payment and credit histories will not be affected.

Due to delays, some customers may receive two bills in quick succession.

Barwon Water sincerely apologises for any inconvenience.

Should you have any questions regarding your bill or payment options, please contact us.

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Website unavailable for scheduled maintenance

Due to a scheduled software update, this website will be unavailable from 5 pm today, Friday 15 November until approximately 12 noon, Sunday 17 November 2013.

We have scheduled the work at this time to minimise disruptions to our customers. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

For emergencies and faults (for instance, a burst water main) our 24-hour emergency contact centre will be available during this time.

For urgent enquiries, please call 1300 656 007.

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Northern Water Plant open day

The Northern Water Plant is opening its doors to the public for the first time.

Visitors will be able to have their first look at the state-of-the-art recycled water facility.

The Northern Water Plant is opening its doors to the public for the first time.

The plant treats up to 7.5 million litres of domestic sewage and trade waste daily from Geelong’s northern suburbs and uses advanced technologies to produce high quality Class A recycled water.

There will be guided tours, giveaways and light refreshments.

Please wear flat-soled, closed-toe shoes.


11 am — 3 pm

Sunday 24 November 2013


Northern Water Plant

240 Station Street, Corio

 Google map

  Northern Water Plant 

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Outsourcing of maintenance services

Barwon Water has decided to outsource its civil maintenance, electrical and mechanical maintenance, land management and stores services to Programmed Facility Management.

The move is part of an organisation-wide efficiency review aimed at reducing costs and keeping customer prices down.

Barwon Water’s Board unanimously selected Programmed Facility Management as the preferred provider from a short-list of four tenderers. Assessment criteria included:

  • cost
  • people management, specifically around affected Barwon Water employees
  • customer service
  • ability to meet performance targets
  • safety, quality and environment systems
  • operating competency
  • ease of implementation
  • delivery model.

Under the proposed arrangement, almost all employees in these areas would be expected to be transferred to Programmed Facility Management and would not lose any of their entitlements.

No contract has been signed. Over the next two weeks, affected employees will be consulted in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement. Feedback will be considered before further negations with Programmed Facility Management.

Any transfer of business would occur next year, with full contract handover in July 2014.

Programmed Facility Management is a good cultural fit for Barwon Water with a strong local presence combined with a proven track-record in the water industry.

  Programmed Facility Management

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Safety awards win

Barwon Water commitment to safety has been recognised at the National Safety Council of Australia’s annual awards, with the organisation placing in two of the seven category awards and taking out the prestigious judges’ choice award.

Safety award winners (from left to right): Shaun Cumming, John Dalton, Kurt Spanswick, Kylie Ramsey, Bronwen Elford and Matt Ward.

The Barwon Water Alliance won the overall ‘Pinnacle Award’ for excellence in workplace health and safety, as well as the award for ‘Best Safety Leadership Program’. The Barwon Water Alliance is a private-sector partnership combining the skills and experience of Barwon Water, design and engineering company GHD and construction company John Holland.

Barwon Water’s in-house Health, Safety and Wellbeing team won the highly commended award for ‘Best Health and Wellbeing Program’.

The National Safety Awards are Australia’s longest-running, independent awards and acknowledge outstanding work health and safety initiatives.

  National Safety Awards

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Stage 2 water restrictions to apply in Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo over summer

Stage 2 water restrictions will be reintroduced in Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo this weekend ahead of summer.

Restrictions will apply from Sunday 3 November 2013 to Sunday 4 May 2014.

Although local water storages are currently above 90%, restrictions will ensure the limited capacity of the Marengo basin copes with the summer influx of holidaymakers.

The new Apollo Bay water storage is on track for completion in 2014. We expect this to be the last time summer restrictions are enforced in these coastal towns.

Under Stage 2 restrictions, lawn watering is prohibited. Watering systems are permitted between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on alternate days.

We would like to thank all our customers in Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo for their continued cooperation.

  Stage 2 water restrictions — information for residents

  Stage 2 water restrictions — information for businesses

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Closed for Geelong Cup

Barwon Water's Geelong-based customer service centres are closed today (Wednesday 23 October 2013) for the Geelong Cup Day public holiday.

Our Lorne and Colac offices are open, as normal.

For urgent enquiries, emergencies or faults please call us on 1300 656 007. This hotline is available 24×7.



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New home for historical society

The Forrest and District Historical Society has found a new home in a building steeped in history.

Barwon Water has leased the former West Barwon reservoir keeper’s cottage to the historical society for the next five years.

Built in the mid-1960s, the cottage was originally home to the reservoir keeper and his family.

Barwon Water Board Director David Harris hands over the reservoir keeper’s cottage keys to Forrest and District Historical Society President Ken Widdowson.

Before the introduction of automatic monitoring equipment, the reservoir keeper was responsible for managing the reservoir and surrounding land. But the residence is now vacant and surplus to our needs. It’s the perfect home for the local group and its collection.

The former keeper’s cottage will house an extensive archive, provide members with a base to carry out research and allow the society to display photos and memorabilia. Eventually, the group hopes to open the cottage as a historic centre for tourists, school groups and the community.

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Black Rock Recycled Water Plant officially opened: video

Water Minister The Hon Peter Walsh MLA and Federal Member for Corangamite Darren Chessman MP officially unveiled the $42 million Black Rock Recycled Water Plant today.

The cutting-edge facility will produce recycled water for new growth centres including Armstrong Creek and Torquay north.

New residents in Armstrong Creek will soon have access to highly treated Class A recycled water for watering gardens, washing cars and flushing toilets. Recycled water will also be available for recreational areas such as parks and sporting grounds. The first Class A recycled water is expected to flow through the dedicated ‘purple pipe’ network when infrastructure is complete in early 2014.

The Armstrong Creek project is expected to save up to 2,400 million litres of drinking water a year. New developments in Torquay North will free up a further 350 million litres annually.

The Australian Government provided $10 million toward construction of the plant and a further $10.5 million for recycled water infrastructure in the Torquay growth corridor.

The recycled water plant is located in the 400-hectare Black Rock environmental precinct in Connewarre; between Torquay and Barwon Heads. The precinct is also home to the existing water reclamation facility, biosolids drying facility, recycled water demonstration farm, community bike path and buffer land.

  Black Rock Recycled Water Plant

  Watch the video on our YouTube Channel

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