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Latest news blog

"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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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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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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New water charges from 1 July 2011

Barwon Water's Board yesterday approved water and sewerage charges for the 2011—2012 financial year in line with the Essential Services Commission's 2008 pricing determination.

Charges across residential and business sectors will rise 10.57% (including CPI of 3.33%).

The new charges come into effect from 1 July 2011.

The tariff revenue will help fund an unprecedented capital works investment to ensure our water supply in the face of increasing demand, population boom, and climate uncertainty.


 Fees and charges — residential customers

 Fees and charges — business customers 

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Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline project update

Construction of the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline is progressing well, with four different crews currently hard at work along the length of the pipeline alignment from Werribee to Lovely Banks.

Sub-contractor Pipecon is constructing the northern section and has recently been working along Quondong Road, digging trenches for the pipes.

Drapers Civil Contracting, which is construction the southern section, has been laying pipes within the power line easement near Windermere Road in Lara.

The construction works involve breaking rock to dig a trench, which is then prepared for laying the 800 mm glass-reinforced plastic pipes which will make up the 59 km pipeline.

The project is expected to be complete in late 2011 / early 2012, depending on weather conditions.

Most of the pipeline is being constructed in road reserves or under powerlines within existing easements.

More than 150 landowners along the alignment are being consulted to ensure that construction impacts are minimised.

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Beware of water filter scams

Barwon Water has again received reports of deceptive tactics being used to sell expensive and unnecessary "water filtration systems".

In the past, our customers have been targeted by water filter salespeople via telephone surveys, letterbox drops and door-to-door sales.

Typically, these companies make misleading and inaccurate claims about our drinking water. Some have even claimed that Geelong residents are drinking recycled water.

Customers are urged to beware of deceptive tactics used to sell water filtration systems.

Sometimes, representatives from water filtration companies may attempt to give the impression that they are employees of Barwon Water, or are acting on our behalf.

We would like to reassure our customers:

  • our drinking water is 100% safe to drink, and meets strict government-mandated requirements for quality
  • we are not associated with any water filtration manufacturer, and we do not promote or endorse the use of domestic water filtration systems.
  • our staff do not, and have never, conducted door-to-door sales, or telephone surveys promoting water filters
  • our staff and their representatives wear uniforms and carry identification
  • recycled water is not, and never has been, added to drinking water supplies in our region.

If you are targeted by water filter salespeople, we encourage you to contact us with as much information as you can.

You may also wish to lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs Victoria.


Do I need a water filter or filtration system?

We do not believe there is any need to use domestic water filters.

The majority of our water is harvested in forested catchments and underground aquifers, and is filtered and disinfected at dedicated treatment facilities.

We must meet our obligations under the Safe Drinking Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Regulations.

 More on water quality

In many cases, individual filter units do little to improve household water supply. It may be claimed that filters remove substances that are not even present in our water.

Customers considering purchasing a water filter should evaluate their own needs and any apparent benefits of individual filtration products.

It should be noted that there are situations, such as certain industrial applications and medical treatments, where the use of specific, purpose-built water filters may be suitable or necessary.


What about chlorine?

Chlorine is an essential additive to our water supplies. Chlorine destroys potential disease-carrying micro-organisms, and ensures your water is safe to drink.

Sometimes chlorine reacts with organic matter in pipes and creates a noticeable taste or smell. This does not pose any health risk.

Most domestic water filters do not, in themselves, remove chlorine. Simply letting water stand in a jug (for example in your fridge) will usually eliminate the chlorine taste and smell.

 More on chlorine 


What about fluoride?

Fluoride is added to drinking water as directed by the Victorian Government and endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Fluoride is added to Geelong's and Colac's water supplies to reach an optimum dosage of one part per million. Despite a raft of available mis-information, fluoride in drinking water is completely safe at this level.

Different water filter manufacturers may claim to remove or deliberately retain fluoride. Very few domestic water filters actually affect fluoride.

 More on fluoride 



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Planting trees for World Environment Day

Students from St Mary's Primary School in Colac have helped us plant more than 500 indigenous trees on the Lake Colac foreshore as part of World Environment Day celebrations.

The grade 3–4 students joined youth and environment ambassadors Joel Corey and Kelly Cartwright, along with staff from Barwon Water and Colac Otway Shire to revegetate an area between the rowing and yacht clubs.

Youth and Environment ambassdaor Joel Corey with students from St Mary's Primary School revegetate a section of the Lake Colac foreshore with native plants from Barwon Water's community nursery. 

The trees were provided by Barwon Water's community nursery. The nursery, located in South Geelong, has cultivated more than a million native trees, shrubs and grasses for landscaping , revegetation, and restoration projects over 20 years of operation.

World Environment Day is held annually on 5 June. This year's theme is "Forests: nature at your service".

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Feedback from our water forum

On 6 April 2011 we once again hosted a water forum for our stakeholders and community. We would like to extend our thanks to all those who attended and participated.

Water Forum for Stakeholders and Community Members, 6 April 2011 

This forum focussed largely on integrated water cycle management, and has provided invaluable input for our upcoming 2013-2018 Water Plan and Water Supply and Demand Strategy.

Topics discussed at the forum include:

  • surface water: new dams and the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline
  • groundwater: Barwon Downs and Aquifer Storage and Recovery
  • recycled water: purple-pipe developments and industrial recycling
  • stormwater: water-sensitive urban design and stormwater schemes
  • saving water: rainwater tanks and attitudes on water conservation.

We have collated and published feedback from the forum and present it here. The report has two parts:

  1. Feedback summary: collated comments organised by topic
  2. Table feedback: unedited feedback captured by nominated scribes at each participant table.
Water Forum for Stakeholders and Community Members
(6 April 2011) Feedback Report

PDF 1.95 MB

We will continue to seek input into our key plans and projects as we progress with the development of the new Water Plan and Water Supply and Demand Strategy.

Of course, your feedback is always welcome. Email us at info@barwonwater.vic.gov.au or contact us anytime.

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Stakeholder and community water forums a success

Barwon Water held two community and stakeholder events at Balmoral Receptions in Geelong on Wednesday, 6 April 2011 to discuss our 2013-2018 Water Plan and alternative water supply options for our liveable region.

The day began with a Stakeholder Breakfast for local government and business representatives, attended by about 70 people. Managing Director, Michael Malouf gave a presentation on our road map for the future. Members of our independent Expert Advisory Panel then gave some insight into the latest research surrounding alternative water supply options such as recycled water, stormwater and groundwater, followed by a Q&A session.

Barwon Water Managing Director Michael Malouf addresses the audience at the Stakeholder Breakfast.

Our invited Expert Advisory Panel members were:

  • Campbell Fitzpatrick, Executive Director Water Entitlements and Strategies, Department of Sustainability and Environment
  • Daryl Stevens, Managing Director Atura Pty Ltd
  • Peter Dillon, Australian Water Conservation and Reuse Coordinator

In the evening, about 30 people participated in our Water Forum for community members.  General Manager Strategy & Technology, Joe Adamski gave a presentation on Barwon Water's road map for the future, followed by a few words from the three Expert Advisory Panel members on alternative water supply options.

The audience then broke into smaller groups to discuss which identified supply options they recommended Barwon Water pursue in order to secure the region's water supply for our next generation. Each table then presented back its findings and there was a positive, interactive discussion between audience members, the panel and Barwon Water representatives.

There was strong support for recycled water and stormwater solutions, with an emphasis on solutions that were environmentally responsible and cost-effective.

Michael Malouf said the Water Forum had provided important feedback for future water planning.

A group from Barwon Water also visited Colac recently, firstly to discuss the 2013-2018 Water Plan with the Colac Otway Council and then to meet with members of the Colac community. Different water supply options to service population growth in the Colac area were discussed. Valuable feedback was received during these meetings, which will be incorporated into future planning.


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Construction begins on the Northern Water Plant


Construction officially began at the site of the Northern Water Plant today, Friday 18 March 2011, with Federal Member for Corio Richard Marles and State Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos turning the first sod.

 The $94 million facility will be built on industrial land adjacent to the Shell Geelong Refinery in Corio.

The plant will treat sewage and trade waste from Geelong's northern suburbs and produce Class A recycled water for the refinery and nearby public sporting grounds.

The facility is due for completion late 2012, and is expected to offset 5% of Geelong's drinking water, or the water used in about 10,000 homes annually.

The project is funded jointly by Barwon Water, Shell, and the state and federal governments. It will be built, owned, and operated by Barwon Water.


More information

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