Record expenditure in 2010-11

Media release issued 15 September 2011

Barwon Water's capital investment was five times more than average last financial year, according to the corporation's 2010-11 annual report.

The report, tabled in Parliament today, reveals a total spend of more than $176 million - a record for a 12-month period.

Barwon Water Managing Director Michael Malouf said the investment was $80 million more than the previous year and a significant increase on total capital works of $33 million five years ago.

"This was the most ambitious capital investment program in Barwon Water's 100-year history and will ensure water security in one of the fastest growing areas of Victoria," he said.

"And this financial commitment to meet growth and deliver quality services will continue, with $666 million to be spent on water, sewerage and recycling infrastructure over the next five years," Mr Malouf said.

Several major projects contributed to the record, including the Northern Water Plant, Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline, preliminary work on the Black Rock recycled water plant and ongoing replacement of the Colac supply pipeline

More than $49 million was spent on sewerage infrastructure and $41 million on water projects.

The report also shows total revenue of $154.5 million included $132 million from tariffs. This was $2.5 million lower than target because of a relatively mild summer and water conservation initiatives that reduced consumption to 5.2 per cent below target.

Expenditure topped $130.7 million, which was $7.6 million below budget. The savings were attributed to lower water volumes, reduced groundwater use and resultants savings in electricity and materials.

A higher than expected before tax operating surplus of $23.9 million was achieved. The corporation budgeted for a $21.2 million surplus.

Other highlights included a decrease in total water use despite the easing of water restrictions. Regional metered water consumption was 27,510 million litres, down from 27,913 million litres the previous year and 38,459 million litres five years earlier.

Mr Malouf said planning for growth across the Barwon region and delivering the necessary infrastructure posed "sizeable challenges" in 2010-11.

"However, these were overcome through innovative delivery structures, including partnering with customers on recycled water projects and the Barwon Water Alliance, which delivered capital works worth more than $90 million."

Mr Malouf said environmental leadership remained a priority, with the corporation's Greenhouse Strategy providing a framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and waste.

"This leadership was showcased through Future Proofing Geelong, a sustainability initiative that will position the city as an environmental champion while leveraging growth opportunities.

"Barwon Water's participation in this ground-breaking move dovetails with the corporation's commitment to create liveable communities that enjoy economic benefits and improved environmental outcomes," he said.

The report is available for download on our website.