Surface water

For more than 100 years, we have relied on rainfall to fill our dams and reservoirs.

Prolonged drought and uncertainty about our future supply confirm we can't depend solely on rain for our region's water future.

The West Barwon Reservoir in the Otway ranges remains one of our most important water sources.


What is surface water?

Surface water is the rainwater collected in our catchments and stored in our reservoirs.

Throughout our history we relied on rainfall for our water supply, and built dams to collect and store this rain.

With the prolonged drought, the effects of a changing climate, and an ever increasing population, we can no longer rely on regular rainfall and surface water alone.

Since 1996, average annual inflows into the West Barwon Reservoir, our major catchment, have fallen by almost 40%.

Surface water will always be an essential part of our water supply system, but is now part of an integrated system incorporating groundwater, stormwater, recycled water and saving water.


Our surface water supply system

We have 10 major reservoirs and 39 local water storages.

Geelong is serviced predominantly by forested catchments on the upper Barwon and Moorabool river systems, including the 21,000 million litre West Barwon Reservoir in the Otway Ranges.

Geelong's first reticulated water was supplied on 11 September 1873 from the Stony Creek Reservoir in the Brisbane Ranges. It supplied the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum, now the site of the Geelong Hospital.

Colac's water supply system is separate from Geelong's, and is supplied from two reservoirs in the Otways.

Lorne, Aireys Inlet and Apollo Bay also have dedicated supply systems with their own catchments and dams.



Learn more

Your water supply system:

  Greater Geelong region

  Colac and surrounding towns


  Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven

  Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek


Current water storage levels:

  Geelong water storages

  Colac water storages

  Lorne water storages

  Aireys Inlet water storages

  Apollo Bay water storages


History of water supply in the Geelong region:

  Our history from early settlers to the present day