Geelong region water storages
Data updated daily
The greater Geelong region’s drinking water is sourced mainly from our forested catchments on the upper Barwon and Moorabool rivers.
During dry conditions, additional water can be drawn from the Victorian water grid via Melbourne, and from an underground aquifer in Anglesea.
An increasing number of businesses and new residential subdivisions are also connected to recycled water.
Barwon River system
Located near the township of Forrest in the Otway Ranges, the West Barwon Reservoir sits at the base of a 51 square kilometre catchment on the West Barwon River.
Water is fed via a 57-kilometre channel to the Wurdee Boluc storage reservoir, south of Winchelsea, collecting from smaller rivers and streams on the way.
This water is filtered, disinfected and fluoridated at the adjacent Wurdee Boluc Water Treatment Plant, before being delivered to customers throughout greater Geelong via a network of pipes, tanks and covered storage basins.
Moorabool River system
A number of reservoirs north of Geelong form the upper Moorabool river system. Korweinguboora, Bostock and Stony Creek reservoirs which make up the East Moorabool system; and Lal Lal Reservoir, near Ballarat, is the main storage on the West Moorabool River. Lal Lal Reservoir is jointly managed by Barwon Water and Central Highlands Water, with Barwon Water allocated a third of its water.
Water from the Moorabool catchments is filtered, disinfected and fluoridated at the Moorabool Water Treatment Plant at She Oaks. This water is then transferred to towns and suburbs north of Geelong.
Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline
The Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline is a 59-kilometre underground pipe connecting Geelong’s storage basins at Lovely Banks with Melbourne’s water supply network at Cowies Hill, west of Werribee.
The pipeline is capable of delivering up to 16,000 million litres of water annually; roughly half greater Geelong’s demand. It supplies towns and suburbs predominantly to the north and west of Geelong.
Following prolonged dry conditions, a decline in storage levels, and an increase in regional water consumption, the pipeline was switched on in March 2019. Additional works completed in December 2019 extended the effective reach of the pipeline to more towns and suburbs, allowing us to access our full annual allocation.
The Anglesea borefield comprises 7 bores across two sites. These bores tap into the Lower Eastern View Formation – a vast aquifer approximately 700 metres below ground.
Groundwater from the borefield can supply Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Torquay, the Bellarine Peninsula, and parts of southern Geelong.
Raw groundwater is high in dissolved minerals such as iron and manganese, and is hot due to the pressure and depth underground. A pre-treatment plant cools the groundwater and removes dissolved minerals, before being transferred to the Wurdee Boluc Reservoir, where it is mixed with the stored water supply.
Our access to groundwater from the Anglesea Borefield is governed by a bulk entitlement, issued by the Victorian Government. Under the terms of the bulk entitlement, we are licensed to extract a maximum of 40 million litres per day, 10,000 million litres in any year, and 35,000 million litres in any 5-year period.
Barwon Water will operate the borefield below these limits to ensure groundwater levels remain above the triggers that have been set to protect groundwater dependent ecosystems. This means we will take up to 13 million litres per day, or 5,000 million litres a year.
The borefield was completed in 2009 following the millennium drought. Following prolonged dry conditions and a decline in storage levels, the borefield was activated for the first time (with the exception of operational testing) in November 2019.
Barwon Downs borefield
The Barwon Downs borefield has historically been a crucial back-up supply source for the greater Geelong region during drought.
Groundwater was first drawn in 1983 in response to severe drought. In 2007, at the height of the millennium drought, Geelong’s water storages had dropped to just 14% before being supplemented with groundwater. The borefield was last accessed following prolonged dry conditions in 2016.
In March 2019, we formally withdrew our application to access groundwater from the borefield. This decision allows us to focus on the remediation of environmental impacts of historic groundwater pumping.