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Latest news blog

Northern Water Plant nearing completion

Construction work at the Northern Water Plant site is around 90% complete.

With all of the structures built, focus now turns to completing the mechanical, electrical and control system fit-out.

All underground pipelines connecting the plant have been laid, two off-site pumping stations are complete, and the tanks, lagoons and buildings have be built. All equipment for the facility's state-of-the art reverse osmosis and ultra-filtration treatment processes has arrived and installation has begun. Details such as surfacing, drainage and roads are being completed.

Commissioning (operational testing) of the plant is due to begin in July. Wastewater from the Shell Geelong Refinery will be used to commission the first phase of the treatment process, including the odour treatment unit. The ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis components, which produce Class A recycled water, will be tested from August.

To date the construction site has seen the induction of 720 people, and logged 193,000 hours without injury.

When complete, the recycling facility will reduce Geelong's drinking water demand by more than 1800 million litres a year.

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Black Rock Recycled Water Plant construction update

Work on the Black Rock Recycled Water Plant project began in January 2012 and is now well underway.

The new plant is being built adjacent to the existing Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre. The facilities are part of the larger Black Rock Environmental Precinct, which also incorporates a biosolids drying plant, recycled water share farm, bicycle path and buffer land.

When complete, the recycled water plant will take treated water from the existing water reclamation plant and refine it with several treatment phases including ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection and chlorine disinfection. The resultant Class A recycled water will be available for new 'purple pipe' residential developments at Armstrong Creek and Torquay North. A higher quality Class C recycled water will also be available for a range of non-residential customers.

The Black Rock Recycled Water Plant is on schedule for completion in mid-2013.

  Black Rock Recycled Water Plant

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Region's storages in good shape

Greater Geelong's water storages have received a 7 billion litre boost following downpours over our catchments.

The Mt Sabine weather station (near the West Barwon Reservoir in the Otway Ranges) recorded a record-breaking 202 mm of rain on Monday 4 June. The daily total eclipses the long-term average of 197 mm for the entire month.

West Barwon Reservoir jumped from 56% capacity to more than 85% full in just 24 hours, with more than 6 billion litres flowing into the dam.

Elsewhere in the region, Colac's reservoirs received a 900 million litre injection, jumping from 55% to 100% in less than two days. The West Gellibrand and Olangolah reservoirs are now full and spilling.

Painkalac Reservoir, which supplies Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven, went from 84% to overflowing in the same period, and Lorne's Allen Reservoir is also at 100% and spilling.

  Water storages report


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2013 Water Plan: draft for public comment

We are seeking feedback from our community on the draft 2013 Water Plan.

The Water Plan sets the strategic direction for Barwon Water for the next 5 years (2013–2018). It details our service standards, business initiatives, expenditure forecasts, infrastructure plans and the prices our customers will pay.

Your feedback on the draft document will be used to finalise the Water Plan, before it is submitted to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) in September 2012 for final approval. The ESC is the independent regulator for the water sector.

  Water Plan 2013–2018

Feedback should be made in writing to:

Barwon Water, Strategy and Regulation Team, PO Box 659 Geelong VIC 3220


Feedback is welcome until Tuesday 31 July 2012.

Key proposals outlined in the draft Water Plan include:

  • minimising price increases to just 1% per year (excluding CPI) for the next 5 years
  • expanding and securing Colac's water supply
  • continued high levels of customer service.

The 2013 Water Plan reflects Barwon Water’s move from a period of significant investment in securing the Geelong region's water supply to a new phase focussing on the efficient delivery of quality services.

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Birregurra sewerage system now complete

We are pleased to announce that the $12 million Birregurra sewerage scheme has been completed.

If you are a property owner in Birregurra and want to find out more, including how to connect, come along to our open house.


Saturday 2 June 2012

10.00 am – 3.00 pm


Birregurra Town Hall

RSVP: Not required

Some things to know about connecting to the new sewerage system

  • Residents whose properties are serviced by the scheme have been notified by mail.
  • Eligible properties must connect by 30 June 2014.
  • You will need a licensed plumber to help you connect.
  • Costs to connect will vary. Government hardship grants are available to eligible concession card holders.
  • Septic tanks can no longer be used once you are connected to the sewerage network.

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Bike path provides safe route

Road safety around the Black Rock environmental precinct has been improved thanks to a new bike path.

The path, which links Thirteenth Beach Road and Blackgate Road, will greatly improve safety around the popular cycling route.

Cyclists test out the new Black Rock bike path near Thirteenth Beach.

Several hundred metres of Blackgate Road, between Breamlea and the Thompson Creek Bridge, were also widened as part of the project.

Andrew Katos, Member for South Barwon, officially opened the path alongside representatives from Barwon Water, Bikesafe and the City of Greater Geelong. Dozens of keen cyclists also attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and road-tested the new path.

The $500,000 project was jointly funded by Barwon Water, the City of Greater Geelong and Regional Development Victoria.

  More photos on Flickr

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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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