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Latest news blog

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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Northern Water Plant construction progressing well

Construction of the $94 million Northern Water Plant is progressing well, with more than 60% of the project complete.

The facility is taking shape, with earthworks and structures mostly finished. Attention has now turned to mechanical and electrical fit-out inside the buildings.

Installation of the water treatment and Class A recycling equipment has started. Most of the components have been manufactured in Australia but some specialist items are being imported from Germany.

Commissioning the plant will begin mid-2012 once construction has been completed and all systems have been checked and tested.

  Northern Water Plant

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Managing Director will not renew contract

Michael Malouf is leaving Barwon Water after nearly five years as Managing Director.

Mr Malouf has advised Barwon Water's Board he does not intend to renew his contract.

In a joint statement with Chairman Dr Michael King today, Mr Malouf said after more than 20 years as a Chief Executive, he wanted to devote more time to his family.

Mr Malouf joined Barwon Water in September 2007, after executive roles with Pratt Holdings. Previously, he was Chief Executive of the Carlton Football Club, Melbourne City Council, City of Greater Geelong, City of Melton and City of Wyndham.

Dr King said the Board accepted Mr Malouf's decision and acknowledged his contribution, particularly in the crucial areas of water supply, recycled water and cultural change.

Mr Malouf is expected to leave Barwon Water on Friday 30 March 2012.

Barwon Water's Board will begin seeking a replacement as soon as possible.

The Board has appointed Joe Adamski, General Manager Strategy and Technology, as acting Managing Director.

  Media release: MD not to renew contract

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Work begins on the new Black Rock Recycled Water Plant

A symbolic sod-turning ceremony has marked the start of construction on the new Black Rock Recycled Water Plant.

The state-of-the-art facility will produce high quality Class A recycled water for new residential growth centres including Armstrong Creek and Torquay North, plus improved Class C water for agriculture and recreation.

The recycled water plant will be located adjacent to the existing water reclamation facility in Connewarre, part of the Black Rock Environmental Precinct.

The sod-turning ceremony was attended by Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos MLA, Member for Western Victoria Region David Koch, as well as local leaders and Barwon Water board directors.

The project, due for completion in 2013, is a major milestone in our expanding recycled water network. It will slash recycled water discharges to Bass Strait, provide new recycled water markets, and free up vital drinking water supplies to meet growth and demand.


More information

  Black Rock recycled water plant

  Recycled water for residential customers

  Recycled water for business customers

  Media release: New recycled water plant to serve growth centres

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Don't miss your native plant and bucket: exclusive offer for Geelong Advertiser readers

Get your native plant and bucket this weekend at our Sustainable Home and Garden Expo.

Pick up a copy of the Geelong Advertiser this Saturday 10 March, cut out the official coupon, and present it at our Sustainable Home and Garden Expo in exchange for a native plant and bucket.

Youth and Environment Ambassadors Kelly Cartwright and Joel Corey with the native seedlings.

The Sustainable Home and Garden is Barwon Water's flagship annual event.

Join more than 50 exhibitors and an array of special guests for 2 days of interactive displays, hands-on activities, sustainable living ideas, an exciting on-stage program, and fun for the whole family.


Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 March 2012 (Labour Day long weekend)

10.00 am – 4.00 pm daily


Steampacket Gardens, Waterfront Geelong

Cost: Entry is free


Choice of plants

Geelong Advertiser readers can choose from one of three native Australian seedlings (subject to availability):


Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra): a small, hardy grass that thrives in full sun or part shade and sandy to clay soils. Small brown flowers on long stems September-February.

  Kangaroo Grass information card (PDF 422 KB) 


Rock Correa (Correa glabra) a tall shrub that likes well drained soil and grows well in full sun and part shade. Drought and frost tolerant. Can be pruned to shape or used as a low hedge. Small read and green bell-shaped flowers May-October.

  Rock Correa information card (PDF 499 KB)


Sticky Hop-bush (Dodonaea viscose) is a medium to large shrub. It likes well drained soils and full sun to part shade. Drought and frost tolerant. Red flowers August-December and distinctive reddish brown papery fruit capsules.

  Sticky Hop-bush plant information card (PDF 351 KB)


More information

  Sustainable Home and Garden Expo 2012


The fine print

  • Total value of Geelong Advertiser, native plant and bucket is $4.70.
  • Cost of the Geelong Advertiser (Saturday edition) is $1.70.
  • Bucket and plant only available with official coupon.
  • One plant and one bucket per coupon only.
  • Only original coupons will be accepted (no copies).
  • No exchange will be permitted.
  • Strictly while stocks last.
  • Two day offer only.

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