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Latest news blog

Black Rock environmental precinct launched

The Black Rock environmental precinct was officially launched this week following years of work to enhance and protect the unique area surrounding the region's largest sewage treatment and water recycling facility.

Image shows Barwon Water's Carl Bicknell (Genaral Manager Water Systems) and David Barkley (Manger Water Reclamation) with community reference group members Susan Howells and Beth Ross checking on some of the 110,000-plus native tress planted in the environmental precinct.

Barwon Water's Carl Bicknell (Genaral Manager Water Systems) and David Barkley (Manger Water Reclamation) with community reference group members Susan Howells and Beth Ross checking on some of the 110,000-plus native tress planted in the environmental precinct.

The precinct, which takes in 403 hectares of land around the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Numerous initiatives within the precinct include:

  • an extensive revegetation program which has seen the planting of more than 110,000 native trees grown at our community nursery
  • working with Birds Australia to raise awareness and protect the hooded plover, a wader-bird listed as a vulnerable species in Victoria
  • managing 3.2 km of foreshore on behalf of the Department of Sustainability and Environment
  • wildlife corridors to protect the rich biodiversity of the area
  • surrounding land used for research and share farming.

We have also formed a new community reference group to seek community feedback. The group includes local residents, business owners, representatives from community groups and government bodies.

The Black Rock environmental precinct is an integral part of our commitment to deliver quality services in an environmentally sensitive manner.

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Crews work around the clock to repair leaking pipe

A leaking water main has been repaired after repair crews worked around the clock last week, digging a 4.5 m deep trench and excavating around 70 semi-trailer loads of soil.

Image shows two maintenance works in safety apparel and construction helmets repairing a pipe in a trench at night. They are surrounded by a protective steel 'trench shield'.

Maintenance workers Matthew Foote and Peter Van Arend replace a section of damaged pipe.

The water main, located near the Queens Park Bridge in Geelong, transfers water from the Montpellier basin in Highton to customers in Newtown.

The leak was caused by corrosion resulting in a hole no bigger than a 50 cent piece in the 450 mm diameter steel pipe.

Workers have been on-site for up to 15 hours daily on rotating shifts. Most of the work has been done outside of business hours to minimise impact on motorists and pedestrians.

There was no interruption to customers’ water supply during repairs.


Timeline of repairs

  • Saturday 5 May: the leak is reported, crews dispatched, and the water supply shut off
  • Monday 7 May: work begins, including deep trenching and excavation
  • Tuesday 8 May: the hole is found Tuesday morning. A simple weld repair is ruled out due to the condition of the pipe.
  • Wednesday 9 May: a 7 m section of the pipe is removed and replaced.
  • Thursday 10 May: the trench is backfilled.
  • Friday 11 May: reinstatement works begin at the site.


Photo gallery

  Check out our pictures on Flickr

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Water restrictions lifted in Apollo Bay

Stage 2 water restrictions will be lifted in Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek effective from tomorrow, Sunday 29 April 2012 .

The commonsense Permanent Water Saving Plan will apply in place of the restrictions. The Plan will apply across our entire service region.

Restrictions have been required through the warmer months due to the limited capacity of the Marengo basin and the added demand from the summer tourist influx.

Staged restrictions will be a thing of the past when the supply is boosted by a new 250-million litre storage, complementing the existing 125-million litre basin.

Plans for the new storage are well advanced, with construction scheduled to begin this year and due for completion mid-2014.

  Permanent Water Saving Plan: information for our residential customers

  Permanent Water Saving Plan: information for our business customers

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Landcare partnerships protect our water resources

Barwon Water will continue its partnerships with local Landcare groups with more than $300,000 in funding over the next 3 years. We have already provided more than $1 million to Landcare over the past 10 years.

Partnerships have been renewed with the Southern Otway Landcare Network (Barham River catchment) and Upper Barwon Landcare Network (Upper Barwon River catchments). The Moorabool Catchment Landcare Group (Moorabool River catchments) will be supported for the first time. Each group will receive $35,000 a year for three years.

Major catchment protection work has been carried out during the last 3-year funding block. In 2009–2010 alone, almost 90,000 trees were planted and 63 hectares of riparian vegetation protected.

Chairman Dr Michael King said the Landcare partnership program helped enhance the region's quality water resources by protecting, stabilising and revegetating riparian areas. Dr King said the program supports community and landholder action for protecting and enhancing catchment health, water quality and river health.

In addition to $300,000+for Landcare, $225,000 has been allocated for catchment projects through our river health partnership with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.

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Regulator proposes approval for Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline price re-opening

The Essential Services Commission (ESC), Victoria's independent economic regulating body, has proposed to approve a 3% increase on water service charges to apply only in the 2012–2013 financial year.

The increase will allow Barwon Water to recoup the cost of the $80 million Melbourne to Geelong pipeline project.

For a typical residential customer using 165 kilolitres a year, this equates to an increase of 29 cents a week, or $15 over the year. Bills will vary from customer to customer, depending on usage.

The 3% increase will apply on top of previously approved 7% price rise, excluding CPI.

Conscious of cost-of-living pressures, Barwon Water's Board decided to confine the price rise to a single financial year, ensuring prices over the next ESC-approved period (2013–2018) are kept to a minimum.

Following a period of high growth, Barwon Water is targeting corporate and operational expenditure and debt management as it enters a new phase of consolidation.


Have your say

The ESC is seeking submissions of the draft decision by Monday 21 May 2012, prior to a final decision in June 2012. Submissions can be made by email or post:

Water Team
Essential Services Commission
Level 2, 35 Spring Street
Melbourne VIC 3000



The ESC will also hold public meetings in Geelong and Colac:

  • 12.00–2.00 pm, Monday 14 May 2012, Geelong Conference Centre (Google map)
  • 4.30–6.30pm, Monday 14 May 2012, Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre (COPACC) (Google map)


More information

Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline
Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline price re-opening FAQs
Media release issued Monday 23 April 2012: Water Plan re-opening
Essential Services Commission


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New Land Development Manual now available

Barwon Water has launched a new, user-friendly Land Development Manual (LDM).

Demonstrating our goal to continually improve the way we work and communicate with our customers and stakeholders, the new LDM has been extensively overhauled and rewritten to improve the experience for users.

It is now more concise, more intuitive and written in plain English language, so even those who are not professionally involved in the land development industry can easily navigate and understand the contents.

We began work on improving the LDM as a response to feedback from our developers and consultants in late 2010. The revamped Barwon Water LDM was revealed at this year's Developers, Contractors and Consultants Forum on Wednesday 28 March.

It has been an enormous effort to develop the new Barwon Water LDM. We would like to thank our legal advisers Russell Kennedy for their invaluable expertise in helping us to produce such a quality publication in the agreed timeframe.

Anyone who is using an earlier version is advised to download the new LDM from our website (under the 'Business customers' tab), or you can request a hard copy be sent to you.

If you have any questions or comments, or would like to request a hard copy of the LDM, please call 1300 656 007 or email development@barwonwater.vic.gov.au.

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Water conservation grant supports Anglesea Men's Shed

A rainwater tank at the Anglesea Men's Shed has received funding through our water conservation grants program.

We provided $2500 toward a 22,500-litre rainwater tank at the new shed in Cameron Road.

The tank will provide water for toilet flushing and irrigation. It is expected to save around 200,000 litres of drinking water a year.

The water conservation grants program was launched in 2009. It initially targeted customers using more than 10 million litres of water a year.

In late 2010, the program was expanded to include small businesses, schools and community groups.

This year, 16 organisations are expected to share more than $187,000 under round 3 of the program.

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Black Rock open day draws a crowd

Around 280 people got an insight into how Geelong's sewage is treated at the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant open day on Sunday 18 March 2012.

Black Rock is our largest water reclamation plant, processing sewage from as far away as Lara, Queenscliff and Torquay as well as the suburbs of Geelong.

 Coordinator Water Reclamation Plants David Greaves takes a group around the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant during the open day.

Coordinator Water Reclamation Plants David Greaves takes a group around the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant during the open day.

The day drew a steady crowd of all ages, including couples, families, students and retirees.

The tour began in the visitor information centre, where visitors learned how the plant operates and the treatment processes used. Groups then had an opportunity to see the plant first-hand on a walking tour.

Visitors were able to see construction works on the new recycled water plant that will provide Class A recycled water to Armstrong Creek and North Torquay, as well as the recently completed biosolids drying facility.

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Expo a success again

More than 16,000 visitors descended on the Geelong waterfront this Labour Day long weekend for the free 2012 Sustainable Home and Garden Expo.

More than 55 exhibitors took the opportunity to share their products and services with the captive audience. Not-for-profit and community groups found the expo an ideal venue to promote and inspire, and businesses reported many visitors seeking ways to incorporate sustainability into their everyday lives.

The guest speakers' program, led by evergreen hosts Denis Walter and Catriona Rowntree, brought a host of topics and experts to the one marquee. Andrew Katos MP and Barwon Water chairman Dr Michael King opened the event, followed by a plenary by Rob Gell.

Renovating duo Josh and Jenna provided handy tips on home improvement while Channel 31's Vasili Kanidiadis inspired the crowd to grow and eat their own produce. Expo regular Jane Edmanson presented a riveting workshop on drought-tolerant gardening, while local vet Dr Jack Ayerbe answered audience questions on all aspects of pet care.

More than 16,000 people attended the Sustainable Home and Garden Expo over the labour Day long weekend. 

The Barwon Water marquees were again a hive of activity, with thousands keen to trade their Geelong Advertiser coupon for a bucket and native plant. Meanwhile, children joined staff members from our community nursery for a new potting activity.

Expo newcomers Rainbow Riders and their Shetland ponies were the focal point for the new Children's Garden, along with face painting, planting and a petting zoo. The community café, sponsored by John Holland, provided much-needed sustenance in the form of potatoes, sausages, ice cream and poffertjes!

We would like to extend our thanks to all the event sponsors, the many wonderful exhibitors, our event staff and volunteers, and of course to the thousands of visitors who made the event a success.


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Manholes repaired in an Australian first

Barwon Water is the first water corporation in Australia to use a new technique for repairing damaged sewer manholes.

The 'Mr Manhole' system is used extensively throughout America and parts of Europe to repair manholes.

This system, imported to Australia by local company Geelong Waterproofing, was used to repair manhole lids on the outfall sewer along La Trobe Terrace.

It is our most important gravity sewer main, carrying up to 70% of Geelong's sewage.

The Mr Manhole leveling system in action

Over the years, these lids have been battered by heavy traffic flows, resulting in an uneven road surface.

The new system involves a specialised machine cutting a core around the manhole opening.

The doughnut-shaped ring is removed, and a special plastic liner placed in the opening. This is sealed at the base to prevent water entering the sewer and odour escaping.

Reinforcing bars are placed around the manhole, before rapid-set concrete is poured into the opening.

The concrete is able to be driven over by heavy vehicles after two hours, allowing roads to be reopened earlier than would normally be possible, minimising inconvenience to road users.

The work is also able to be completed in half the time of a conventional repair, and at lower cost.

Stage 1 of the works has recently been completed along La Trobe Terrace, between Fyans and Myers Streets. Stage 2 works are continuing north, from Myers Street to Gordon Avenue.

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