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Latest news blog

Board appoints new Managing Director

Water Minister Lisa Neville today welcomed the appointment of Tracey Slatter as the new Managing Director of Barwon Water.

Tracey has more than 20 years experience at senior management level and was endorsed by the Barwon Water Board to lead the organisation over the next five years. She was chosen from a list of outstanding candidates following an exhaustive Australia-wide search.

Tracey brings a wealth of management experience to the role having had several years at the helm of local councils, as well as executive experience in the local region. She was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of Port Philip City Council. Her previous roles include CEO of Colac Otway Shire, Head of Claims at the TAC, Director of Primary and Community Health in the Victorian Health Department and a Director of the G21 Geelong Region Alliance.

The Board was unanimous in its belief Tracey has the right skills and expertise to drive the organisation forward in a new era of change and opportunity.

Tracey replaces Joe Adamski who has been Managing Director for the last four years.

  Victorian Government media release: Barwon Water announces new Managing Director

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Seasonal change to water supplies

Barwon Water is now accessing water from its Moorabool system reservoirs.

As is normal practice at this time of year, customers in Geelong’s northern suburbs and parts of Golden Plains Shire switch supply sources.

Bannockburn, Teesdale and Inverleigh switch entirely to the Moorabool system and suburbs in some parts of Geelong receive a blend of water from the Barwon and Moorabool catchments.

Surface water storages are balanced during the warmer months. This means some areas rely more on water from catchments in the Moorabool system, rather than catchments in the Otways, to the west and, this year, the Melbourne to Geelong pipeline.

The activation of the Moorabool system will see the Melbourne to Geelong pipeline, which has been supplementing supplies in northern Geelong since April, turned off. The pipeline remains an ‘insurance policy’ against future drought.

Some customers may notice a change in the taste of their water as a result of the change to the Moorabool system.

All water supplied is 100% safe and compliant with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

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More than taps and toilets

Today Barwon Water launched its Strategic Intent: blueprint for the future.

  Strategic Intent: blueprint for the future

The Strategic Intent outlines our commitment to customers and stakeholders, strategic directions, objectives and actions for employees.

It includes eight new focus areas representing Barwon Water’s commitment to key Victorian Government policies, in addition to eight functional strategies that underpin core business activities.

The plan was unveiled at a corporate breakfast attended by almost 100 stakeholders from across the region.


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Colac pipeline contract awarded to local company

Securing Colac’s water supply is a step closer with Water Minister Lisa Neville announcing the contract to construct the 11-kilometre pipeline linking the city to the water grid.

R Slater and Sons, a Colac-based family-owned business that has been operating for more than 65 years was awarded the contract to build the pipeline. Other construction contracts are yet to be announced.

The project has been fast-tracked my two years following an updated water security assessment.

Construction is scheduled to begin next month and Colac is set to be connected to the Geelong system by mid-2017, effectively doubling its supply capacity and boosting water security for the region.

  Project information: Colac water supply upgrade

  Media release: Colac pipeline to secure future water supply

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Prices down for 2016/2017

Barwon Water’s water, sewerage and recycled water prices for customers for the 2016/2017 financial year have been approved and apply from today. The prices are in line with the 2013–2018 Water Plan, which focuses on easing cost-of-living pressures on the community.

The independent Essential Services Commission has approved a price decrease of 7.6% over the life of the Water Plan (1.6% each year), excluding inflation.

Once CPI of 1.31% is applied, customer prices will decrease by 0.31% for the 2016/2017 financial year.

For an average residential customer using 160 kilolitres of water a year, this equates to a decrease of around $3.38 annually. Bills vary depending on usage.

A Victorian Government water rebate of $90 also will apply to residential customers whose bills include a water usage component. The rebate applies in the first quarter of the financial year (July to September) and reflects continued efforts to improve customer affordability.

  Fees and charges for residential customers

  Fees and charges business customers

  Victorian Government water rebates

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Colac and Apollo Bay water restrictions lifted

Stage 3 water restrictions will be lifted in Colac, Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek. The change is effective from 1 am, this Friday 10 June 2016.

The move follows a month of consistent rainfall that has boosted supplies.

West Gellibrand Reservoir, which supplies Colac, received 232 mm during May, well above the monthly average of 120 mm. Colac’s storages are currently 48.0% full.

Apollo Bay also had a wet May, with 172 mm recorded. This was almost double the monthly mean of 89 mm. Apollo Bay’s storages are now at 62.7% capacity.

From Friday, simple, common-sense and permanent water saving rules will apply across our entire service region.

  Media release: Colac and Apollo Bay water restrictions lifted

  Permanent water saving rules (residential customers)

  Permanent water saving rules (business and commercial customers)

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Restrictions lifted in Lorne

Water restrictions have been lifted in Lorne after recent rains have all but filled Allen Reservoir.

The restrictions will be eased from tomorrow, Friday 20 May 2016. Permanent water saving rules will then apply.

Lorne has already received 112 mm of rain this month, well above the May mean of 84 mm. This breaks a 12-month run of below-average rainfall.

Lorne’s storages have jumped 112 million litres in just over two weeks from a low of just 33.1% at the end of April to 97.1% today.

Stage 3 water restrictions remain in place in Colac and Apollo Bay, but will be monitored and reassessed in June as both areas showed signs of recovery.

  Water storages: Lorne


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Interested in joining the Painkalac Creek environmental flows community and agency group?

Barwon Water, in partnership with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA), is forming a community and agency group to discuss the management of future environmental flows for Painkalac Creek.

Painkalac Reservoir has been taken out of service now that Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven are connected to the greater Geelong supply system via a pipeline from Anglesea.

We are looking for 8–10 representatives from a range of sectors including residents, businesses, local government and community, environmental and indigenous groups to join up to 6 representatives from Barwon Water and Corangamite CMA.

Group members should have:

  • a balanced view and a pragmatic approach to problem solving
  • an active interest in local environmental issues
  • strong community networks
  • a broad understanding of key issues in the Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven area
  • preferably live locally.

Painkalac Creek environmental flows community and agency reference group - Terms of Reference and Expression of Interest form


We anticipate the group will be active for approximately 12 months. Meetings will typically be held on weekday evenings in Aireys Inlet / Fairhaven. The group will agree on meeting frequency.

Expressions of interest are welcome until 5 pm, Friday 3 June 2016.

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Water flows from Geelong to Aireys Inlet

Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven are now connected to the diverse and secure greater Geelong water supply system.

The $6.6 million upgrade, launched today by Water Minister Lisa Neville, includes a new 11-kilometre pipeline from Anglesea and an upgraded pumping station.

Hon Lisa Neville, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water and Paul Northey, Barwon Water General Manager Infrastructure Services in Aireys Inlet this morning.

Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven residents were previously reliant on Painkalac Reservoir, located in state forest north of Fairhaven. The small reservoir is naturally high in organic matter and subject to seasonal blue-green algal (cyanobacteria) blooms that affect the colour, taste and odour of drinking water. The 27-year-old Aireys Inlet water treatment plant had reached the end of its operational life.

The twin townships are now connected to the greater Geelong water supply system which draws water from large forested catchments on the upper Barwon and Moorrabool Rivers. Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven join greater Geelong with access to back-up water sources including deep underground aquifers and the Victorian water grid via Melbourne, ensuring long-term supply security in the face of climate change.

Barwon Water will maintain the reservoir for walking, horse riding and bicycle riding, bird watching and recreational fishing, supporting the recommendations from an extensive community consultation campaign.

  Media release: Water flows To Aireys Inlet And Fairhaven

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Recent rainfall a welcome relief for residents in Lorne

 The recent rain is a welcome relief for residents of Lorne.

  • More than 60 million litres of rain received in past two weeks.   
  • Allen reservoir now almost 70% full.       
  • Water carting stopped.
  • Water restrictions likely to be lifted.

Lorne is entirely reliant on the 175-megalitre Allen Reservoir on the St George River. Being a small water reserve, the reservoir drains steadily during drought, but also recovers quickly with rain.

Historically, Allen Reservoir rarely falls below about 75% capacity, but prolonged dry conditions saw it drop to just 33% at the end of April. Tough stage 3 water restrictions were introduced and water carting began for the first time in the town’s history.

But with about 64 million litres being captured since, Lorne’s supplies are looking much healthier. Allen Reservoir is currently 69.7% full and expected to rise.

Barwon Water will continue to monitor inflows, storage levels, demand trends and rainfall forecasts daily. Water carting has now ceased, and water restrictions look likely to be lifted next week.


More information

  Lorne’s water storages

  Your water supply: Lorne

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