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Latest news blog

Strategic partnerships

We’re forging bold, new strategic partnerships, cementing our position as a key partner in the economic, social, environmental and cultural prosperity of our region.

Today, Barwon Water renewed its commitment to Future Proofing Geelong, and yesterday signed a partnership agreement with The Gordon. In September, we formalised our partnership with Surf Coast Shire Council, and we’re working with local leaders including Deakin University and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority to further strengthen our working relationships.


Future Proofing Geelong

Barwon Water today renewed its commitment to Future Proofing Geelong, signing a new three-year Memorandum of Understanding.
Adapting to climate change is pivotal to our core business, and – as a major greenhouse emitter – mitigating our own impacts is essential to ongoing regional prosperity.

By joining forces with the City of Greater Geelong and other local leaders, we are advancing the sustainability of the region, attracting investment and jobs in clean technology, and developing Geelong as a showcase of a community transitioning to a low carbon economy.

Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter (third from right) joins local leaders in signing the Future Proofing Geelong Memorandum of Understanding at The Geelong Library and Heritage Centre. 


The Gordon

Yesterday, Barwon Water officially recognised a long-standing relationship with The Gordon.

More than simply an employer of choice for Gordon graduates, we’re looking ahead to a range of collaborations to achieve tangible and lasting benefits for the community.

In particular, we’re excited about working together to lead the region in the renewable energy space; leveraging the synergies of The Gordon’s innovation and excellence as a niche skills provider with Barwon Water’s commitment to building cleaner and greener infrastructure – such as the large-scale solar array soon to be built at Black Rock.


Surf Coast Shire Council

Our three-year partnership agreement with Surf Coast Shire Council focuses on renewable energy projects, connected communities, shared services and urban planning with the ultimate goal of delivering regional prosperity to the community.

We’re also exploring opportunities to consider shared procurement, shared project management services to deliver large-scale infrastructure, and placements and secondments for our employees.


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Geelong sewer works almost complete

Innovative technology continues to pay dividends as the rehabilitation of one of Geelong’s oldest and most critical sewer mains is on schedule, with minimal disruption to customers.

The 100-year old reinforced concrete main contributes significantly to the health and prosperity of the region by transferring much of Geelong’s wastewater to the Black Rock water reclamation plant for treatment.

Maintenance on our critical assets is fundamentally important to the future of the region. By utilising new technological advances, we’ve been able to significantly minimise disruptions and impacts on customers.

The complex underground work has been completed without the need for heavy machinery digging up roads and footpaths. Regular water and sewerage services have not been impacted, and we’ve worked to minimise disruption as much as possible.

Work to clean and reline the sewer along Malop Street, between Moorabool and Bellerine streets, was completed earlier this year. The project is due for completion by the end of the year.

  Geelong ovoid sewer rehabilitation

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Strong results for catchment health

Pesticide detection levels in our catchments have decreased by almost 90% over the past decade.

The results show our catchment monitoring and risk management program is rigorous and robust.

An independent accredited testing laboratory conducted about 3,000 tests for pesticides and herbicides across our catchments during 2016/2017.

In that time, we’ve also invested more than $200,000 to support environmental programs and activities within our catchment areas.

  Catchment management 

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Barwon Downs borefield study results

New scientific data showing the impacts of groundwater pumping on Yeodene Swamp (Big Swamp), also provides us with information to assist in planning and budgeting for remediation.

The research was commissioned in 2013 by Barwon Water as part of a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program. Acid-sulfate soil experts reviewed the interaction between groundwater pumping and the drying of Big Swamp, as well as options for remediation.

The study confirmed releases of acidic water from the swamp into Boundary Creek were largely the result of very dry climatic conditions and groundwater extraction.

The results of the monitoring program are helping to build a strong understanding of the connection between groundwater pumping from the borefield and nearby waterways, including Big Swamp and Boundary Creek.

The data provides a solid scientific basis for us to develop options to improve the condition of Big Swamp and minimise acid events in the future. We are committed to remediating the swamp to improve water quality and flows downstream.

The outcomes of this research, as well as community feedback being gathered through a series of workshops, will provide valuable information for our borefield licence renewal application, due to be submitted to Southern Rural Water in late 2017.

To find out more about the licence renewal project and access technical reports please visit our dedicated project page and “Your say” microsite.

  Your say: Barwon Downs licence renewal

  Barwon Downs borefield licence renewal 


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2018 Price Submission submitted

Barwon Water has submitted its 2018 Price Submission to the Essential Services Commission (ESC), Victoria’s independent economic regulator of the water industry. The submission sets out our proposed prices, service standards and customer outcomes for the next five years, beginning 1 July 2018.

The submission reflects our focus on keeping customer bills affordable, while delivering the infrastructure and services our customers value and expect.

Throughout the preparation of the submission, we’ve consulted more comprehensively with customers and stakeholders than ever before. 

We would like to thank our customers and community for their participation during the development of the submission.

You can provide feedback during the ESC’s review.

The final determination is expected to be released in mid-2018.

  Essential Services Commission: Barwon Water Water Price Submission

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Barwon Downs community workshops

We’re running two community and stakeholder workshops for the Barwon Downs borefield groundwater licence renewal application.


Workshop 1 of 2: 6.00 to 8.30 pm, Thursday 21 September 2017

Workshop 2 of 2: 6.00 to 8.30 pm, Thursday 12 October 2017


Workshop 1 of 2: Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre
95–97 Gellibrand Street, Colac, VIC 3250

 Google map

Workshop 2 of 2: Colac Bowling Club,
Cnr Moore and Armstrong streets, Colac VIC 3250

 Google map

All feedback will be considered in the development of the 2019 licence renewal application.

Spaces are limited, and attendance is by prior registration only. Please contact us on 1300 656 007 to register.

For more information, please refer to our dedicated microsite:

  Your Say: Barwon Downs borefield licence renewal

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Board appointments 2017

The Minister for Water announced the Water Corporation and Catchment Management Authority boards today, Monday 11 September 2017.

From 1 October 2017, our Board will comprise 7 non-executive directors and the Managing Director.

  • Jo Plummer (Chair)
  • Tracey Slatter (Managing Director)
  • Elaine Carbines
  • Bernard Walsh
  • John Gavens
  • Rebecca Leonard
  • Ann Lansberry (new appointment)
  • Des Powell (new appointment).

  Water industry board appointments 

  Victorian Government media release: Women hold more than half the seats on water boards 

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"Ryrie HQ" officially opened

Barwon Water’s refurbished Geelong head office has opened its doors.

Minister for Water and Member for Bellarine the Hon Lisa Neville today officially opened the new headquarters in Ryrie Street, which now houses all of our Geelong-based employees under one roof.

Left to right: Barwon Water Chair Jo Plummer, Water Minister Lisa Neville, Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter

Wadawurrung Elder ‘Uncle’ Bryon Powell performed the Welcome to Country ceremony, including a traditional indigenous smoking ceremony, as part of the official proceedings. 

The $32 million project saw the former building, last updated in 1977, gutted and refurbished. About 100 jobs, many of them local, were created during construction.

The building, internally referred to as “Ryrie HQ”, has a 5-star Green Star rating, making it one of Geelong’s greenest businesses. Much of the building’s original concrete and steel building structure was retained, saving more than a million kilograms of CO2 emissions by minimising the use of new materials. Additionally, 80% of material removed from the site was recycled.

The modern design features a glass-walled infill connecting the north and south sections, innovative sun-shading façade, stormwater-irrigated rain garden, roof-top terrace, community café and open-plan layout accommodating up to 350 staff.

The project has helped revitalise Ryrie Street, and provides a new connection to Little Malop Street, linking with the arts and culture hotspot.

The refurbishment will nearly halve maintenance, operational and energy costs. The project is price-neutral, with these savings and consolidation of surplus buildings funding the work. Barwon Water customer bills have not been affected.

Barwon Water acknowledges the Wadawurrung people as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land on which the new building stands. We pay respect to Elders, past and present.

  Minister for Water media release: Barwon Water opens five-star green office 

  More photos from the official opening on our Facebook page. Follow us to stay informed!

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Forrest wastewater project announced

Barwon Water and Colac Otway Shire Council will partner with the Forrest community to investigate opportunities for wastewater improvements in the town.

The strategic partnership was confirmed at a meeting with representatives of the Forrest Wastewater Group with Barwon Water and Council agreeing to allocate resources and funding for the investigation.

The commitment acknowledges the growing role tourism plays in Forrest and the local economy, and the increasing stress this might place on existing wastewater treatment systems.

The project is a great example of a collaborative process supporting the prosperity, health and liveability of the region.

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Enabling regional prosperity

Today, Barwon Water released Strategy 2030, marking the start of a paradigm shift from a utility provider towards an enabler of regional prosperity. 

Strategy 2030 builds on our proud history, and contributes more to our customers, community and region.

Barwon Water has more than 110 years’ experience in providing excellence in water and sewerage services and infrastructure. This is what we do, and we will continue to do it well.

But we are shifting our focus. Our water and sewerage services underpin economic, social and environmental dimensions of regional prosperity. With a new vision and mission, we’re moving from a utility service provider to a regional enabler.

Strategy 2030 promises to deliver through a diverse and high-performing workforce, creating common ground for strategic partnerships, a more entrepreneurial approach to commercial opportunities, and a commitment to zero waste and zero emissions.

  Strategy 2030: Enabling regional prosperity

  Strategy 2030 (PDF 3.9 MB)


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