Barwon Water has been granted a licence by Southern Rural Water to decommission the Barwon Downs Borefield production bores, as part of its Boundary Creek, Big Swamp and Surrounding Environment – Remediation and Environmental Protection Plan (REPP). 

The REPP was put together following extensive community and independent expert input to remediate impacts from past management of groundwater pumping activities at the Barwon Downs Borefield, which was relied upon to supplement drinking water supplies periodically between 1982 and 2016.

The decommissioning plan and progress on other actions in the REPP are highlighted in the 2022–23 Annual Report for the REPP, which has been submitted to Southern Rural Water and published to Barwon Water’s dedicated project website.

Barwon Water Managing Director, Shaun Cumming, said that the REPP Annual Report showed the plan had resulted in continued positive progress being made in the improvement in the health of the affected waterways and surrounding environment.

“Highlights include the ongoing recovery of the Lower Tertiary Aquifer, increased water levels within Big Swamp, continued improvements to pH levels within Big Swamp and Boundary Creek and improvements in the ecological values within Big Swamp,” Mr Cumming said. 

“And while the borefield is not being used, the decommissioning plan and licence provides confirmation to the community that we intend to continue remediating the area and will not seek to use the borefield as a water source in the future.”

Mr Cumming said that the REPP was designed to be adaptive and based on a wide range of technical assessments and investigations, and featured input from community members, stakeholders and expert specialists.

Mr Cumming thanked the community members and stakeholders who had provided valuable advice, oversight and feedback during the development and implementation of the plan over the past four and a half years.

Mr Cumming also said that Barwon Water is committed to keeping the local community and key stakeholders informed regarding the progress of remediation and to sharing the findings and outcomes of the plan.

“We thank remediation reference group members for their ongoing contribution to the remediation process and look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming months and years as we progress the plan and decommission the borefield.”

Featured image: Barwon Water workers at Boundary Creek. Image credit: Barwon Water.

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