Reclaiming water for industry and lakes

Article image - Reclaiming water for industry and lakes Piping spare recycled water from Barwon Heads to Colac almost 100 km away would build water security for the region.

Colac Otway Shire is seeking support for a proposal to take water from Black Rock on the Victorian coast near Geelong, to Lake Colac in the state’s west, for industry and agriculture and to replenish the region’s lakes.

Mayor, Jason Schram, said Council had supported the proposal following initial discussions between Polwarth MP Richard Riordan, Council, Barwon Water and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.

“The Colac community has been looking at how we maintain water levels at Lake Colac for recreation since the summer of 2008-2009 when the lake completely dried out.

“This project could provide water for sporting grounds including the Modewarre Sporting Complex proposal, and incredible opportunities to diversify our food bowl to include more aquaculture, fruit and vegetable production.

“Barwon Water’s Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant near Barwon Heads treats sewerage from the Greater Geelong region, producing Class A recycled water, which is suitable for residential use.

“Some of the recycled water produced daily is reused but a lot of it goes out to sea and could potential be piped to Colac and used for Lake Modewarre, Lake Murdeduke and industry along the way.

“Barwon Water has indicated the capital cost could be between $150 million and $300 million with ongoing operational costs.

“Council has made the proposal a priority project and we will now advocate for funding for an Economic Feasibility Study and Cost Benefit Analysis.

“It will be important to gain support from Surf Coast Shire Council and we will ask G21 to consider the proposal as a priority project across its economic development, sport and recreation and environment pillars.

“We will also be looking for support from the commercial sector and further investigate the vast environmental benefits,” he said.

“Colac Otway can see that what started as a project to secure a permanent water supply for Lake Colac for skiing, yachting, rowing and angling, which would have significant social and financial benefits for Colac, could also have the potential to relieve the pressure on potable water supplies and provide a massive, sustainable boost to the region’s economic development.”