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Latest news blog

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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Stage 3 water restrictions for Lorne, Colac and Apollo Bay

Stage 3 water restrictions will be introduced in the Colac, Lorne and Apollo Bay water supply systems from 1 am on Sunday 1 May 2016 as unprecedented dry conditions continue.

Stage 3 water restrictions will apply across the following suburbs and towns:

  • Alvie
  • Apollo Bay
  • Beeac
  • Colac
  • Coragulac
  • Cororooke
  • Cressy
  • Elliminyt
  • Irrewarra
  • Lorne
  • Marengo
  • Ondit
  • Warrion
  • Skenes Creek

Stage 2 restrictions were implemented in Colac and Lorne last month and have been successful in reducing demand. However, storage levels have continued to fall with only minimal rainfall and inflows recorded.

Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek will go straight to Stage 3 restrictions after a sharp decline in storages over recent weeks.

Lorne’s supplies sit at 33.7% capacity while Colac and Apollo Bay’s storages are just 26% full.

Storages in all three regions were in a healthy position ahead of summer, but record dry conditions have seen supplies fall into the restriction range.

The increase from Stage 2 to Stage 3 further restricts garden watering, with hand watering only permitted between 6 am and 8 am on alternate days.

Under Stage 3 restrictions, lawns cannot be watered, sprinklers are banned, and only water-efficient dripper systems are permitted between 6 am and 8 am on alternate days.

  Stage 3 water restrictions: information for residential customers

  Stage 3 water restrictions: information for commercial and business customers


Water carting: Lorne

Lorne will receive approximately 200,000 litres daily from the greater Geelong network to help maintain the town’s supplies.

Water carting trucks will travel from Winchelsea to Lorne via Deans Marsh, starting next week.


Taste changes: Colac and Lorne

Residents in Lorne, Colac and surrounding towns may notice changes in the taste of their water as supplied are blended and balanced across the networks.


Permanent water saving rules: Geelong

Permanent water saving rules will continue to apply in the greater Geelong supply region, including Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven.

Geelong has access to a diverse range of water sources including catchments on the Barwon and Moorabool River systems, groundwater at Barwon Downs and Anglesea, and the Victorian water grid via Melbourne.

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Have your say and shape Victoria's water future

The Victorian Government is developing a new Water Plan which will set the strategic directions for water management in the state for decades to come.

In 2015, a draft plan was developed with input from key stakeholders across the water industry including water corporations, catchment management authorities, traditional land owners, local government, farming and environmental groups.

The plan includes nine key focus areas including responding to climate change, waterway and catchment health, water for agriculture and jobs, economy and innovation.

The draft plan will be open for public consultation until Friday 13 May 2016. The final plan is due to be released in mid-2016.


Learn more, get involved, have your say

  Download the discussion paper (PDF 17 MB, 156 pages)

  Attend your local community forum

  Take a survey, share an idea, post a question or make a submission online

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Water flows from Melbourne to Geelong

The Melbourne to Geelong pipeline, a crucial water security measure, was switched on for the first time today by Water Minister Lisa Neville.

Extremely dry conditions have seen local water storages drop to levels not seen since the millennium drought, prompting Barwon Water to place an order for 6 gigalitres of water from Victorian water grid.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville; Barwon Water Managing Director, Joe Adamski; and Barwon Water Chair Jo Plummer at Lovely Banks basins, turning on the tap to the Melbourne Geelong pipeline.

Greater Geelong water storages currently sit at 34.5%. This time last year they were at 60%. At the peak of the drought, Geelong supplies dropped to just 14%.

The 59-kilometre pipeline connects the Lovely Banks storage basins with Melbourne’s supply network at Cowies Hill, west of Werribee.

Completed in December 2012, the $80 million pipeline project was one of the biggest in Barwon Water’s 100-year history, part of a record $750 million investment program to diversify the region’s water sources and service growth.

There will be no additional cost to our customers as a result of switching on the pipeline. Prices are locked in until June 2018 and are declining 1.6% a year, on average, excluding inflation.

  Media release: Water flows from Melbourne to Geelong for first time


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Back-up water supplies switching on

Barwon Water is now calling on back-up water sources — the Melbourne to Geelong pipeline and Barwon Downs borefield — in response to prolonged dry conditions.

We will tap into the Victorian water grid via the 59-kilometre Melbourne to Geelong pipeline from the beginning of April.

The Barwon Downs borefield, a critical source previously used to supplement supplies in drought conditions, is also being readied for operation.


Will my water bill go up to pay for these supplies?

No. Customers will not pay extra for these water sources. Prices are locked in until June 2018.


Will my water taste different?

Possibly. Some customers notice a change in the taste of their water when the sources are changed. All water supplied is 100% safe to drink and fully compliant with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.


Will I receive desalinated water?

No. The Melbourne to Geelong pipeline connects Geelong’s storage basins at Lovely Banks with Melbourne’s water supply network at Cowies Hill, west of Werribee. Melbourne’s supply network will be topped up via the desalination plant near Wonthaggi.

Barwon Water customers will not receive desalinated water.


More information

  Fact sheet: Changes to your water supply (April 2016)

If you have any questions or concerns about your water, please contact us.

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