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Latest news blog


Solar array underway

We’re making the switch to renewable energy by 2025, with a 1 megawatt solar array being built at the Black Rock water reclamation plant, and an another 2 megawatt array approved.

The $3.4 million Black Rock Solar Project will see more than 2,800 panels generating about 1.3 gigawatt hours a year — around 13% of the treatment plant’s energy requirements. The project is expected to cut our annual emissions by about 1,500 tonnes and save $185,000 per year, putting downward pressure on customer prices.

Stage 2 of the solar project was recently approved, which will deliver a further 2 gigawatt hours a year by 2020. And we’ve fast-tracked smaller solar systems at five operational sites to produce an extra 500 kilowatts of renewable energy.

The solar farm is a flagship project for Barwon Water’s Strategy 2030, which includes a target of 100% renewable energy by 2025 and zero net emissions by 2030. And through our extensive engagement for the 2018 Price Submission, our customers and community told us they support our efforts to reduce emissions and switch to renewables.

Stage 1 of the solar array is on track for completion early next year.


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Investing in Lorne's water supply for decades to come

Construction works on Lorne’s Allen Reservoir over the next six months will increase the reservoir’s flood level capacity and strengthen the dam wall.

Allen Reservoir, Lorne.

The project involves increasing the flood capacity of the concrete spillway and upgrading the reservoir embankment to better align with current engineering standards. These improvements will ensure the reservoir can cope in extreme weather conditions, particularly during flood flows.

Conducting the spillway and embankment elements of the project simultaneously means we can complete the important works as efficiently as possible and minimise disruption to the town.

Residents may notice increased construction vehicles and contracted construction workers in the area, particularly between now and Christmas. Truck routes will run along Otway Street and will operate Monday to Friday between 7 am and 6 pm.

The upgrade is key to securing Lorne’s water supply into the future and reduce the risk of infrastructure failures. A secure supply is vital to support the town’s liveability, jobs and tourism, and reinforces Barwon Water’s 2030 vision of becoming an enabler of regional prosperity.


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Leak detection trial saves Colac customers water and money

An innovative trial in Colac is helping residential customers track their water use and detect hidden leaks, saving water and money.

Numerous hidden and silent leaks have already been found by the technology that, if undetected, would have amounted to significant water losses and costs for customers.

In the first six months of the trial, 10% the homes involved were found to have leaks. If undetected, these losses would have exceeded 840,000 litres a year and would have amounted to roughly $1,900 in additional costs.

Barbara Basham was notified of a possible leak at her Colac home. She couldn’t find any obvios leaks, so contacted a plumber who found the culprit: a leaking pipe in an old external laundry. As the pipe was underneath a thin concrete floor, there were no visible signs of a leak, although it was losing  more than 2,300 litres a day!

The trial is an extension of the successful On-Farm Leak Detection program using Taggle technology that has saved local farmers an estimated 100 million litres of water over the past four years. It also supports Barwon Water’s 2030 Strategy commitments to sustainable water use and zero waste.

The residential trial will continue for a further 18 months. The specialised meters will provide valuable data for Barwon Water to assess whether this type of technology is an effective tool for early leak detection in a residential setting.

 


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Strategic partnerships

We’re forging bold, new strategic partnerships, cementing our position as a key partner in the economic, social, environmental and cultural prosperity of our region.

Today, Barwon Water renewed its commitment to Future Proofing Geelong, and yesterday signed a partnership agreement with The Gordon. In September, we formalised our partnership with Surf Coast Shire Council, and we’re working with local leaders including Deakin University and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority to further strengthen our working relationships.

 

Future Proofing Geelong

Barwon Water today renewed its commitment to Future Proofing Geelong, signing a new three-year Memorandum of Understanding.
Adapting to climate change is pivotal to our core business, and – as a major greenhouse emitter – mitigating our own impacts is essential to ongoing regional prosperity.

By joining forces with the City of Greater Geelong and other local leaders, we are advancing the sustainability of the region, attracting investment and jobs in clean technology, and developing Geelong as a showcase of a community transitioning to a low carbon economy.

Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter (third from right) joins local leaders in signing the Future Proofing Geelong Memorandum of Understanding at The Geelong Library and Heritage Centre. 

 

The Gordon

Yesterday, Barwon Water officially recognised a long-standing relationship with The Gordon.

More than simply an employer of choice for Gordon graduates, we’re looking ahead to a range of collaborations to achieve tangible and lasting benefits for the community.

In particular, we’re excited about working together to lead the region in the renewable energy space; leveraging the synergies of The Gordon’s innovation and excellence as a niche skills provider with Barwon Water’s commitment to building cleaner and greener infrastructure – such as the large-scale solar array soon to be built at Black Rock.

 

Surf Coast Shire Council

Our three-year partnership agreement with Surf Coast Shire Council focuses on renewable energy projects, connected communities, shared services and urban planning with the ultimate goal of delivering regional prosperity to the community.

We’re also exploring opportunities to consider shared procurement, shared project management services to deliver large-scale infrastructure, and placements and secondments for our employees.

 


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Geelong sewer works almost complete

Innovative technology continues to pay dividends as the rehabilitation of one of Geelong’s oldest and most critical sewer mains is on schedule, with minimal disruption to customers.

The 100-year old reinforced concrete main contributes significantly to the health and prosperity of the region by transferring much of Geelong’s wastewater to the Black Rock water reclamation plant for treatment.

Maintenance on our critical assets is fundamentally important to the future of the region. By utilising new technological advances, we’ve been able to significantly minimise disruptions and impacts on customers.

The complex underground work has been completed without the need for heavy machinery digging up roads and footpaths. Regular water and sewerage services have not been impacted, and we’ve worked to minimise disruption as much as possible.

Work to clean and reline the sewer along Malop Street, between Moorabool and Bellerine streets, was completed earlier this year. The project is due for completion by the end of the year.

  Geelong ovoid sewer rehabilitation


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Strong results for catchment health

Pesticide detection levels in our catchments have decreased by almost 90% over the past decade.

The results show our catchment monitoring and risk management program is rigorous and robust.

An independent accredited testing laboratory conducted about 3,000 tests for pesticides and herbicides across our catchments during 2016/2017.

In that time, we’ve also invested more than $200,000 to support environmental programs and activities within our catchment areas.

  Catchment management 


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Barwon Downs borefield study results

New scientific data showing the impacts of groundwater pumping on Yeodene Swamp (Big Swamp), also provides us with information to assist in planning and budgeting for remediation.

The research was commissioned in 2013 by Barwon Water as part of a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program. Acid-sulfate soil experts reviewed the interaction between groundwater pumping and the drying of Big Swamp, as well as options for remediation.

The study confirmed releases of acidic water from the swamp into Boundary Creek were largely the result of very dry climatic conditions and groundwater extraction.

The results of the monitoring program are helping to build a strong understanding of the connection between groundwater pumping from the borefield and nearby waterways, including Big Swamp and Boundary Creek.

The data provides a solid scientific basis for us to develop options to improve the condition of Big Swamp and minimise acid events in the future. We are committed to remediating the swamp to improve water quality and flows downstream.

The outcomes of this research, as well as community feedback being gathered through a series of workshops, will provide valuable information for our borefield licence renewal application, due to be submitted to Southern Rural Water in late 2017.

To find out more about the licence renewal project and access technical reports please visit our dedicated project page and “Your say” microsite.

  Your say: Barwon Downs licence renewal

  Barwon Downs borefield licence renewal 

 


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2018 Price Submission submitted

Barwon Water has submitted its 2018 Price Submission to the Essential Services Commission (ESC), Victoria’s independent economic regulator of the water industry. The submission sets out our proposed prices, service standards and customer outcomes for the next five years, beginning 1 July 2018.

The submission reflects our focus on keeping customer bills affordable, while delivering the infrastructure and services our customers value and expect.

Throughout the preparation of the submission, we’ve consulted more comprehensively with customers and stakeholders than ever before. 

We would like to thank our customers and community for their participation during the development of the submission.

You can provide feedback during the ESC’s review.

The final determination is expected to be released in mid-2018.

  Essential Services Commission: Barwon Water Water Price Submission


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Barwon Downs community workshops

We’re running two community and stakeholder workshops for the Barwon Downs borefield groundwater licence renewal application.

When:

Workshop 1 of 2: 6.00 to 8.30 pm, Thursday 21 September 2017

Workshop 2 of 2: 6.00 to 8.30 pm, Thursday 12 October 2017

Where:

Workshop 1 of 2: Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre
95–97 Gellibrand Street, Colac, VIC 3250

 Google map

Workshop 2 of 2: Colac Bowling Club,
Cnr Moore and Armstrong streets, Colac VIC 3250

 Google map

All feedback will be considered in the development of the 2019 licence renewal application.

Spaces are limited, and attendance is by prior registration only. Please contact us on 1300 656 007 to register.

For more information, please refer to our dedicated microsite:

  Your Say: Barwon Downs borefield licence renewal


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Board appointments 2017

The Minister for Water announced the Water Corporation and Catchment Management Authority boards today, Monday 11 September 2017.

From 1 October 2017, our Board will comprise 7 non-executive directors and the Managing Director.

  • Jo Plummer (Chair)
  • Tracey Slatter (Managing Director)
  • Elaine Carbines
  • Bernard Walsh
  • John Gavens
  • Rebecca Leonard
  • Ann Lansberry (new appointment)
  • Des Powell (new appointment).

  Water industry board appointments 

  Victorian Government media release: Women hold more than half the seats on water boards 


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