Stage 2 water restrictions will be introduced in Colac and surrounding towns on Sunday 12 May 2013 due to below-average rainfall and declining storage levels.
Colac's storages currently sit at 35.5%, compared to 52% at the same time last year.
The Colac region recorded its lowest ever rainfall for the first three months of this year, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting little relief in sight.
Restrictions will ensure the district has sufficient water until the reservoirs recover. Fortunately, this is possible with a single significant downpour.
We will continue to monitor storages, forecast and demand trends daily. Restrictions will remain in place until further notice.
Under Stage 2 restrictions:
Stage 4 water restrictions will be lifted in the coastal townships of Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek from Sunday 12 May 2013. The Permanent Water Saving Plan will then apply.
Recent rains have replenished the storage basin at Marengo, which now holds 70% of capacity. Local storages had dipped below 50% in March, but have been recovering steadily since. With the tourist season and Easter influx of holidaymakers over, demand is also expected to drop.
Work is progressing well on the new 250-million litre storage basin in Apollo Bay, to complement the existing 125-million litre Marengo storage.
Excavation works are underway, steel framework has been erected for the transfer pumping station and brickwork has begun.
The new storage is expected to be operational in mid-2014 and will meet forecast growth until 2055.
Barwon Water's first Class A recycled water plant was officially opened this morning.
The facility treats trade waste from the adjacent Shell refinery and sewage from Geelong's northern suburbs. The state-of-the-art plant produces Class A recycled water using an advanced ultrafiltration and reverse-osmosis treatment process. It will reduce Geelong's drinking water demand by around 2 billion litres a year, equivalent to 5% of demand, or the water used by 10,000 homes.
With the first investigations beginning in 2003, the Northern Water plant has been 10 years in the making. Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh and Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Amanda Rishworth officially opened the facility at a ceremony today.
A leading example of public and private sector collaboration, the $94 million project was jointly funded by Shell, Barwon Water and the federal and state governments.
Our Colac Water Treatment Plant is opening its doors to the public.
Located on Lake Colac, the plant treats up to 9 million litres of domestic and industrial sewage daily, producing Class C recycled water.
Join us for a guided tour of the facility, enjoy a barbecue lunch and have a coffee on us.
Please wear flat-soled, closed-toe shoes.
11 am — 2 pm
Sunday 26 May 2013
Colac Water Reclamation Plant
Treatment Plant Road, Colac
Due to a system upgrade, some sections of this website will be unavailable beginning close-of-business this evening (5.00 pm, Tuesday 24 April) until approximately 9 am, Monday 29 April.
The following sections will be unavailable:
We expect all features to be working as normal by 9 am, Monday 29 April, and apologise in advance for any inconvenience.
Our customer call centre will be closed from 9 am to 12 noon, Monday 29 April as our system upgrade is completed.
Our call centre will also be closed for the ANZAC Day public holiday (Thursday 25 April).
For emergencies and faults, such as a burst water main, please call 1300 656 007. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hot and dry conditions over several months have seen Geelong's water consumption soar to the highest level since the summer of 2005–2006.
Consumption reached 9,630 million litres between January and March 2013, (around 107 million litres a day) which is 4.8% higher than the 10-year average over the same period.
Over the past three months, Geelong rainfall has been at its lowest since 2009 (measured at the Montpellier water storage basin in Highton). More telling, however, are reduced inflows to the West Barwon Reservoir in the Otway Ranges. The reservoir — which supplies drinking water to greater Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast — recieved just 59.8 mm of rain in the three months to March, the lowest since electronic records began.
In contrast, Colac's water consumption was actually 10% lower than the 10-year average for the same timeframe (albeit 7.4% higher than last year and 19.8% higher than the year before). Unfortunately, the January-to-March rainfall of just 40.6 mm — the lowest since 2000 — has meant that Colac storages have dipped to their lowest in five years.
Numerous factors influence changes in water consumption, notably rainfall and water restrictions. We would like to remind our customers that the Permanent Water Saving Plan — a set of simple, common-sense rules to save water — applies every day of the year.
The Permanent Water Saving Plan currently applies across our service region with the exception of Apollo Bay and neighbouring Skenes Creek and Marengo. Barwon Water has upgraded restrictions to Stage 4 in these towns after local water storages dropped below 50% capacity for the first time since 2004. Since the restrictions were tightened, storages have slowly begun to recover and are currently at 58.4% capacity.
For daily updates of local storage levels and consumption data, weekly rainfall totals, and water graphs for the past nine years, check out our improved water storages information.
Construction of Apollo Bay's new storage basin is in full swing, with activity underway across a number of sites.
Work on the new 250-million litre basin is progressing well, with more than 145,000 cubic metres of soil removed from the site. The remaining 40,000 cubic metres will be excavated before winter.
About 360 metres of the 2.2 kilometre pipeline between the new storage and new river pump station has been installed and 27 of 30 structural piles have been driven at the river pump station site.
Construction will be undertaken seven days a week for the next six weeks to ensure as much work as possible can be completed before winter. There will be as many as 65 people working on the project at various locations each day.
Work is currently on track to have the new system operating in 2014.
This project is being delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.
We will spend almost half a million dollars upgrading water mains in central Colac over the next two months.
The $480,000 project involves replacing 970 metres of water mains in Bromfield, Connor and Rae streets. Trenchless technology will be used to minimise disruption.
The existing 75 mm pipes were laid in 1925 and have reached the end of their operational life.
At double the diameter, the new 150 mm pipes will improve supply reliability.
Construction has started in Connor Street between Scott and Hart street.
Barwon Water is reviewing its monitoring program for the Barwon Downs borefield in the Otways.
The borefield is a crucial drought reserve for the regional communities of Geelong, Surf Coast, Bellarine and parts of the Golden Plains.
At the height of the recent drought, the worst on record, the borefield provided up to 70% of Geelong's drinking water when storages plummeted to 14%
It has been switched off since 2010 and monitoring is showing underground water levels have been recovering at a steady rate since then.
The monitoring network currently consists of a series of bores and observation points that enable measurement of changes to the environment as a result of groundwater extraction.
While the network is extensive, it could be enhanced by installing additional monitoring facilities that would provide more comprehensive information on groundwater behaviour.
The first stage of providing better monitoring facilities involves some site inspections, which are being carried out by consultants SKM and Ecology Australia in April 2013. This will include inspecting bore sites and taking measurements at observation bores. Up to five field workers will be in the area during April.
The monitoring program review will include investigations into water quality, stream flows, ecosystems near the borefield and groundwater recharge rates.
The first stage of the review will help determine whether additional monitoring equipment is required to better understand groundwater processes.
The Barwon Downs community will be consulted and kept informed throughout the review. As part of the longer term engagement strategy, it is proposed to establish a Barwon Downs Community Reference Group.
No construction work on any additional monitoring assets will start before consultation with the reference group and the wider community.
Stage 4 water restrictions will be introduced in the coastal townships of Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek next week to combat falling storage levels.
Restrictions will apply from Monday 25 March 2013 and be reviewed again in April.
A prolonged dry spell has left Marengo basin at 51.2% capacity. This time last year the basin was holding 90%.
Hot, dry weather since the beginning of the year has caused a sharp decline in the town's supply. The tougher restrictions have been introduced ahead of the tourist influx at Easter.
Under Stage 4 restrictions, drinking water cannot be used at any time to water residential, public or commercial lawns and gardens, or sporting grounds.
When washing vehicles at home or at a commercial car wash, only windows, mirrors and lights can be washed using a bucket filled directly from a tap.
Drinking water cannot be used to top up an existing residential or commercial pool or spa of any capacity, except by using a bucket or watering can. New and existing pools and spas cannot be filled using drinking water.
A new 250-million litre basin currently under construction is expected to be operational in 2014 and will meet forecast growth until 2055.
We would like to thank all our customers in Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo for their continued cooperation.