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 the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline, 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 in Winchelsea, Moriac, Anglesea, Airey's Inlet, Torquay, greater Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula 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 north of the Geelong city centre. Water from the Moorabool system can also be used to supply parts of Geelong when operationally required.

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.

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.

See also: Securing our supplies: readying the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline to boost Geelong’s supplies.

See also: New pumps make more use of the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline.

Anglesea borefield

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 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.

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

In March 2019, Barwon Water formally withdrew its application to access groundwater from the Barwon Downs borefield. This decision allows us to focus on the remediation of environmental impacts of historic management of groundwater pumping from the 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.

See also: Focus on remediation of Boundary Creek and Big Swamp