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Latest news blog

Water storages still on the rise

Geelong region water storages have topped the elusive 90% mark for the first time in more than nine years. The last time storages were above 90% was in December 2001 (prior to that: November 1996).

Rainfall at the West Barwon reservoir, in the Otway Ranges, has been well above average this year. July rainfall was the highest since 1978.

Image of a girl in heavy rain.

Storages in the Moorabool system are collectively 97% full, the healthiest they have been for over 15 years.

Lal Lal reservoir began spilling at the end of last month, the first time it has overflowed since December 1996. (Lal Lal reservoir, south of Ballarat, is jointly managed by Barwon Water and Central Highland Water).

Lal Lal and Korweinguboora reservoirs are both at 100% capacity.

Internal link  Water storages

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Construction underway on the Northern Water Plant

Works are progressing well at the Northern Water Plant, Geelong's next water recycling facility. The plant is being built adjacent to the Shell refinery in Corio.

Construction began in March 2011. Earthworks are almost finished and work on concrete civil structures such as holding tanks is well underway.


Over the next two months we will continue working on the civil structure and buildings, and begin building offsite pumping stations at Oyster Cove and Corio West.

The $94 million water recycling facility will reduce Geelong's drinking water demand by two billion litres a year.

The plant is expected to be operational in 2013.

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Upgrades underway in Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale

Work has begun on a new $8.5 million sewer main, part of a $16 million upgrade of the Queenscliff / Point Lonsdale sewerage system.

The pipeline is being bored underground to minimise disruption.

Image shows a construction site with works in progress, including a crane unloading pipes and supervising staff.

Work is underway on a new sewer pipeline btween Ocean Grove and Point Lonsdale.

The 4.3 kilometre pipeline will connect a new pumping station on Shell Road, west of Point Lonsdale, to an existing pumping station on Bonnyvale Road, Ocean Grove.

The new infrastucture will increase the capacity and reliability of the system, and meet expected population growth forthe next 40 years.
Work is expected to be completed in November.

This project is being delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.

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Pipeline crosses Werribee River

Construction of the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline is progressing well, with seven different crews hard at work along the length of the pipe alignment.

This timelapse video shows captures an important construction milestone: the crossing of the Werribee River at Cobbledicks Ford.

The bluestones at the heritage-listed ford were painstakingly lifted and re-laid by hand to allow the crossing.

A sandbag levy and bypass pumps were constructed to divert the river flow during construction.

Construction works have been inspected by environmental officers, flora and fauna identification specialists, animal handlers and archaeologists.

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Northern Water Plant community engagement survey results

Local residents have given the thumbs up to the Northern Water Plant project now underway in Corio.

In May/June we invited feedback from Corio and Norlane residents on the project, specifically on our efforts to inform and engage community members on the project development.

About 9500 households received a survey on the project in the mail. 499 residents responded.

Feedback from the survey was overwhelmingly positive.

  • 90.4% of respondents agreed (or strongly agreed) that Barwon Water had been keeping them informed about the project.
  • 83.1 % agreed (or strongly agreed) that we had been listening to community feedback.
  • 90.5% thought that our project information has been easy to understand.
  • 89% of respondents were satisfied (or very satisfied) with overall engagement so far.
  • The majority of surveyed participants were "not concerned" with a range of project issues such as noise, dust and traffic management.

For full survey results, see the report below. 


  Northern Water Plant project survey results (PDF 1.3 MB)


The Northern Water Plant, adjacent to the Shell Geelong Refinery in Corio, is currently in the early stages of construction and is due for completion in early 2013.

We are committed to ongoing community engagement on this major infrastructure project. Since the inception of the project we've kept our stakeholders and community members informed with information bulletins, fact sheets, mail outs, letterbox drops, door knocks, an "open house" event at the Norlane Community Centre and information kiosks at the Corio Shopping Centre.

The Corio Norlane Development Advisory Board (CN DAB) acts as community reference group for the project and we brief its members every two months.

Thank you to those who completed and returned the survey to us — we appreciate your feedback.


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Geelong water storages at nine year high

Geelong region water storages have passed the 80% mark for the first time in more than nine years.

The last time storages were above 80% was February 2002.

While Geelong's winter rainfall has so far been unremarkable, our Otways catchments have received good rain, increasing overall storages by three percentage points in the past week alone.

Image of a girl in heavy rain.

The rainfall monitoring station at Mt Sabine, atop the West Barwon catchment, has recorded above-average rainfall every month this year. With 1393 mm recorded to date, it is well on-track to surpass the annual average of 1509 mm.

With rain-soaked catchments achieving good run-off, and the traditionally productive spring rainfall still to come, our storages are the healthiest they've been in years.

Our water storage levels are published online and are updated daily.

  Water storage levels

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Colac pipeline project hits halfway point

A major upgrade of Colac's major water supply pipeline is at the halfway mark.

About 3 kilometres of pipe have been replaced, with a further 3.2 kilometres remaining.

The $14.7 million project, part of a staged replacement program, will increase capacity and ensure future water security for Colac.

Crews have battled challenging terrain and steep inclines laying the new pipe, while respecting environmentally sensitive areas.

Smart construction techniques minimise disturbance to local flora and fauna.

Smart construction techniques, such as underground boring, have meant minimal disturbance to local flora and fauna. 

The majority of the pipeworks are expected to be completed in August, with minor works to be undertaken during the drier summer months.

This project is being delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.

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"Teddy" retires after 48 years of service

Maintenance worker and local icon Ted Janczak will retire today at the age of 65, after almost five decades of service to Barwon Water.

One of our longest serving employees, "Teddy" began work with the (then) Geelong Waterworks and Sewerage Trust in June 1963.

He started as a labourer, working alongside his father on a construction crew responsible for water main extensions and replacements.

When his father retired, Ted took over as leading hand on the work gangs.

Most recently, he has been a field maintenance worker based at our South Geelong depot, where an outdoor common area — the Ted Janczak Pavillion — is named in his honour.

A young Ted Janczak (far right) with co-workers in the South Geelong Auditorium, circa 1970s.

Ted remembers the early days of "hard yakka" and reckons things have changed significantly over the years. He cites safety improvements as one of the biggest changes over his 48 year career.

Teddy will be farewelled by friends and colleagues this afternoon at a special function at the Geelong Football club.

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Northern Water Plant survey closes soon

Residents of Corio and Norlane may have recently received a survey and some information on the Northern Water Plant.

Thank you to all residents who have completed the survey and returned it to us.

The closing date for the survey is Friday 8 July 2011, although we welcome your feedback at any time.


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Apollo Bay update

Barwon Water staff were in Apollo Bay on Saturday 18 June 2011 talking to community members about the proposed new water storage.

More than 40 people stopped by the information kiosk at the foreshore market to speak with members of the project team.

The new 250 million litre water storage will complement the existing 125 million litre Marengo Basin.

Currently in the design phase, construction is scheduled to start next year and be completed in 2014.

It is estimated that the new storage will cater for population and tourism growth in the Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo until 2055 and will bring an end to the summer water restrictions that have been imposed on local residents and holidaymakers over the past nine years.

The project finally got the green light after a parcel of land in the lower Barham River Valley was sold to Barwon Water by the Apollo Bay Golf Club. The site had previously been earmarked for a new golf course and residential sub-division, but did not get planning approval. The Apollo Bay Golf Club will remain in its existing foreshore location, after successfully negotiating an extension of its lease from the Victorian Government.


 Apollo Bay new water storage

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