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Barwon Water has marked a major milestone in its efforts to upgrade Birregurra’s water infrastructure, with the completion of a 19km underground pipeline connecting the town to Colac’s water supply.  

The remaining works, including the construction of a storage tank, are on track to be finished by August, marking a crucial step towards ensuring water quality, security, and sustainability for the community.  

Barwon Water General Manager of Planning, Delivery and Environment, Seamus Butcher, thanked the community for their patience while the project was undertaken.  

“Connecting the town to Colac’s water supply offers significant water savings and enhanced water quality for customers while reducing environmental impacts and costs,” Mr Butcher said.  

“The upgrade will not only ensure high-quality and affordable water services for existing customers but also accommodate future growth in the region.”  

Mr Butcher said that the town’s treatment plant had reached the end of its operational life and Barwon Water analysis found the best approach to managing the town’s supply was to connect Birregurra to Colac’s supply.  

“As this new water supply option is already treated at the Colac Water Treatment Plant, it alleviates the need to treat it at the old Birregurra plant, significantly reducing electricity usage, in turn reducing carbon emissions and electricity costs.  

“Many factors were taken into account, including our ability to ensure water quality, water security, environmental impacts, carbon emissions, cost and bushfire resilience.”  

Mr Butcher said that the supply upgrade would also save water by reducing losses from evaporation from the Birregurra storage basins – particularly during summer – and through other system efficiency improvements.  

“The upgrade will ensure we can continue to provide high quality, affordable and secure services for our existing customers, as well as cater for future growth.”  

Construction of the pipeline, spanning from Forrest Street in Colac to Bowden Street in Birregurra, began in May 2023 and follows road reserves and farmland, with above-ground infrastructure such as storage tanks and pressure-reducing valves to be installed along the route.  

At present, Birregurra’s water is sourced from the open Wurdee Boluc and Birregurra channels and is stored in open basins prior to treatment.  

As part of the upgrade, Birregurra customers will receive fluoridated water.   

Fluoride is added to Colac’s water supply under the direction of the Victorian Government’s Department of Health.  

The Colac water supply system, which is supported by a connection to the Geelong system if needed, has capacity to meet Birregurra’s demand, ensuring a seamless transition to the new water source.  

The successful completion of the 19km pipeline represents a significant step forward in securing Birregurra’s water future, providing residents with reliable, high-quality water services for years to come.  

Works on the remaining elements of the project are expected to be finished in August. 

Image:  trabantos/shutterstock.com 

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