Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, has announced that Barwon Water’s Portarlington water reclamation plant will receive $7 million in government funding, helping to reduce reliance on drinking water in agriculture. 

The new infrastructure is expected to deliver certainty for local farmers and businesses, and a high-quality water supply irrespective of seasonal conditions.

The $11.1 million project is expected to create dozens of local jobs, while preserving Bellarine Peninsula’s unique landscape.

“We have been working with Bellarine Peninsula farmers and Barwon Water over the past four years to understand the best way to support our businesses. This involved improving the quality of recycled water and making more of it available,” Ms Neville said.

“The project will secure year-round access to water for local producers in times of lower than average rainfall, giving them confidence to grow their businesses in the region.”

The project involves installing an ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis plant to produce fit-for-purpose recycled water at a significantly lower salinity than the existing high salinity Class C water. 

The upgrade will improve water quality allowing it to be used for a wider range of agricultural purposes.

The upgrade to the recycled water plant supports the draft Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy, which outlines ways to identify and develop a sustainable supply of water in Victoria’s regions.

Barwon Water plans to supply 450 million litres of low salinity, fit-for-purpose recycled water per year to new and existing agricultural and horticultural customers, nearly doubling the amount of recycled water used on the Bellarine.

The upgrade will save more drinking water for Barwon Water customers and allow the Portarlington plant to reuse all of its recycled water and presents opportunities for more farms and businesses to connect to this valuable resource.

Barwon Water Managing Director, Tracey Slatter, said, “The project is helping Barwon Water achieve its Strategy 2030 aim to recycle 100 per cent of the wastewater treated at our water reclamation plants.”

The Victorian Government is contributing $1.97 million with $5.53 million from the Commonwealth Government and $3.56 million from Barwon Water.

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