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Latest news blog

Stage 2 water restrictions for Colac

Stage 2 water restrictions will be introduced in Colac and surrounding towns on Sunday 12 May 2013 due to below-average rainfall and declining storage levels.

Colac's storages currently sit at 35.5%, compared to 52% at the same time last year.

The Colac region recorded its lowest ever rainfall for the first three months of this year, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting little relief in sight.

Restrictions will ensure the district has sufficient water until the reservoirs recover. Fortunately, this is possible with a single significant downpour.

We will continue to monitor storages, forecast and demand trends daily. Restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

  Colac water storages


Summary of Stage 2 water restrictions

Under Stage 2 restrictions:

  • watering lawns is banned, but exemptions can be granted for newly-laid turf
  • watering systems are permitted only between 6 am — 8 am and 6 pm — 8 pm on alternate days
  • cars may be washed with a high-pressure hose or a bucket (but not a hand-held hose).

  Stage 2 water restrictions (residential) Colac and district


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Northern Water Plant officially opened

Barwon Water's first Class A recycled water plant was officially opened this morning.

The facility treats trade waste from the adjacent Shell refinery and sewage from Geelong's northern suburbs. The state-of-the-art plant produces Class A recycled water using an advanced ultrafiltration and reverse-osmosis treatment process. It will reduce Geelong's drinking water demand by around 2 billion litres a year, equivalent to 5% of demand, or the water used by 10,000 homes.

Image shows Peter Walsh (Victorian Minister for Water) and  Amanda Rishworth (Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water) opening the curtains to reveal a plaque to officially open the Northern Water Plant.

Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh and Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Amanda Rishworth officially unveil a plaque to officially open the Northern Water Plant.

With the first investigations beginning in 2003, the Northern Water plant has been 10 years in the making. Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh and Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Amanda Rishworth officially opened the facility at a ceremony today.

A leading example of public and private sector collaboration, the $94 million project was jointly funded by Shell, Barwon Water and the federal and state governments.

  Northern Water Plant

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Colac Water Treatment Plant open day

Our Colac Water Treatment Plant is opening its doors to the public.

Located on Lake Colac, the plant treats up to 9 million litres of domestic and industrial sewage daily, producing Class C recycled water.

Aerial image of Colac. Lake Colac is dominant in the background. A large water storage basin can be seen in the lower left of the image.

The Colac Water Reclamation Plant treats up to 9 million litres of wastewater a day.

Join us for a guided tour of the facility, enjoy a barbecue lunch and have a coffee on us.

Please wear flat-soled, closed-toe shoes.


11 am — 2 pm

Sunday 26 May 2013


Colac Water Reclamation Plant

Treatment Plant Road, Colac

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System upgrade

Due to a system upgrade, some sections of this website will be unavailable beginning close-of-business this evening (5.00 pm, Tuesday 24 April) until approximately 9 am, Monday 29 April.

The following sections will be unavailable:

  • View your bill online. This tool allows registered customers to view and download their Barwon Water bills in PDF format.

  • Property enquiry application. This tool is for solicitors and conveyancers handling property transfers. The tool allows users to request information statements, special meter readings and drainage plans.

  • Property search tool. This tool is mainly for plumbers, builders and engineering consultants. It allows registered users to request ProFIS and drainage plans, book in water tappings, obtain consent numbers, and check the status of developments.

We expect all features to be working as normal by 9 am, Monday 29 April, and apologise in advance for any inconvenience.


Customer call centre

Our customer call centre will be closed from 9 am to 12 noon, Monday 29 April as our system upgrade is completed.

Our call centre will also be closed for the ANZAC Day public holiday (Thursday 25 April).

For emergencies and faults, such as a burst water main, please call 1300 656 007. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Geelong water consumption highest in 8 years

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.


Permanent Water Saving Plan

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. 

  Permanent Water Saving Plan for residential customers

  Permanent Water Saving Plan for business, commercial and rural customers


Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek

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.

  Stage 4 water restrictions (residential) Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo

  Stage 4 water restrictions (business) Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo


Water storage updates

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.

  Water storage levels

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Work progressing on Apollo Bay water storage

Construction of Apollo Bay's new storage basin is in full swing, with activity underway across a number of sites.

Excavation works on Apollo Bay's new storage basin are progressing well.

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.


  Apollo Bay new water storage

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Mains replacement begins at Colac

We will spend almost half a million dollars upgrading water mains in central Colac over the next two months.


Inspecting the work, L-R, Infratec's Jason Sherwood, Barwon Water Board Director David Harris, Infrastec's Tony Dyer and Barwon Water project manager Madan Dhungel.

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.

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Borefield monitoring review announced

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.


Interesting facts about the Barwon Downs borefield

  • The aquifer at Barwon Downs from which water is drawn is estimated to hold more than 500,000 million litres. By comparison, Geelong's main storage at Wurdee Boluc has a capacity of 40,000 million litres.
  • The Barwon Downs borefield as been brought online only four times since 1980 when surface water supplies were very low due to drought.
  • Between April, 2006, and when pumping ceased in 2010, the borefield supplied 52,439 million litres to Geelong and surrounding towns. This was 43% of all water used over this period.
  • Unlike stock and domestic bores, which target shallow aquifers, the six production bores at Barwon Downs draw supplies from depths of up to 630 metres.
  • The Barwon Downs borefield is one of six options being considered for the Colac region. Research has shown Colac's supply will need to be augmented by 2017 to meet growth, climate variability and potential risks to current infrastructure.
  • Barwon Water operates the Barwon Downs borefield and undertakes monitoring under a licence issued by Southern Rural Water.
  • The current licence to operate the Barwon Downs borefield is due for renewal in 2019.

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Stage 4 water restrictions to apply in Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek

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.

  Stage 4 water restrictions - information for residents

  Stage 4 water restrictions - information for businesses

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Water bottles for prep students

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.

Image shows Education Officer, Fernando Garcia, and five prep students with their new water bottles. The students are pictured at a drinking water 'bubbler' trough in the school grounds.

Education Officer Fernando Garcia (left) with Hamlyn Banks Primary School prep students (left to right) Lucy, Jaden, Lachlan, Anabelle and Tiahna.

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.

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