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Latest news blog

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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Colac farms save water

A water efficiency program aimed at agricultural customers in Colac and neighboring towns is beginning to reap rewards.

Barwon Water’s conservation officer, Tom MacDonald, has visited more than 100 farms in the Colac-Otway region and identified potential savings of tens of millions of litres of drinking water.

A number of farmers in the region have also received grants from Barwon Water and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) to implement efficiency projects.

Seven projects were completed last financial year with an expected combined savings of 35 million litres annually. A further eight grant applications will be finalised by the end of 2013. Most projects involved a combination of water efficiency and better use of alternative water sources.

Case study: Beani cattle farm, Irrewarra

Serge and Gail Beani run a 400-head beef cattle farm at Irrewarra, north-east of Colac.

Water usage is a significant cost in running the farm and the Beanis are pro-active in saving water.

With a DEPI grant and help from Barwon Water’s Tom MacDonald, the Beanis developed a network of pipes to supply 45 drinking water troughs across the farm. The troughs are connected to a tank and dam complete with a solar powered pump.

By substituting drinking water with rain water, the new system is expected to save at least 2 million litres (and more than $4,000) annually.

The Beanis are also taking part in a new monitoring program that uses dataloggers and wireless technology to track water use and identify leaks.



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Interested in joining the Barwon Downs Groundwater Community Reference Group?

We are looking for community members to join a new reference group to advise on the Barwon Downs borefield groundwater monitoring program.

The community reference group will:

  • advise on key community concerns about the Barwon Downs borefield to assist in further refinement of the monitoring and investigation program
  • provide advice on engagement with the broader community in relation to the Barwon Downs borefield
  • monitor implementation of the revised monitoring program.

We are looking for up to 12 representatives from a range of community sectors, including business, industry, landowners, environmental groups, farmers and the general community.

Group members should have:

  • an interest in environmental management in the Barwon Downs borefield area
  • demonstrated community networks, especially in the sector they are representing, to ensure that the views of the broader community are represented
  • relevant qualifications or experience in the area or sector they are representing (e.g. farming, environment, etc.)
  • a broad understanding of water supply issues in the Barwon Water region.

For more information, please refer to the terms of reference. To apply for membership, please complete and return the expression of interest application.

Barwon Downs Groundwater Community Reference Group: terms of reference and expression of interest

PDF 127 KB

The reference group will convene monthly, weekday evenings with a venue to be determined / rotated.

Normal membership term is 12 months.

Expressions of interest are welcome until 5 pm Wednesday 4 September 2013.

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A healthy win

Barwon Water's employee health and wellbeing program won the ‘Health promoting workplace’ award at last night's Geelong Business Excellence Awards.

The program — managed by our in-house Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team — has been expanding over the past 12 months and incorporates a number of initiatives, including:

  • work health checks
  • 10,000 steps activity challenge
  • stretch and strengthen sessions
  • mental health workshops
  • nutrition workshops
  • SunSmart awareness campaigns
  • breast health awareness sessions
  • and more.

We are committed to ensuring the physical and mental health of our staff and these initiatives form an important part of our workplace culture.

Barwon Water Chairman Michael King proudly accepted the award at a gala dinner last night.

The Geelong Business Excellence Awards recognise organisations that have achieved business excellence in the region. The judging panel comprises experienced business leaders and many past winners.

We would like to extend our congratulations to the other worthy winners, and our thanks to the event sponsors and Geelong Chamber of Commerce for co-ordinating the awards.

  Geelong Business Excellence Awards

  Geelong Chamber of Commerce

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Bills delayed

Recently we incurred a delay in issuing some customer bills. This was due to a technical error that has now been resolved.

We would like to apologise to those customers who did not receive their March bill on time (January to March quarter).

The delayed bills will be issued within the next fortnight.

Affected customers have been given automatic payment extensions for their June bill (April to June quarter) and will be notified by mail.

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