Bracks: plenty of water for growth

Peter Farago
A STATE Government strategy would secure enough water for Geelong’s population to continue growing at record levels until 2030, Premier Steve Bracks said.
The Premier and Water Min-ister John Thwaites unveiled a $100 million plan on Tuesday to secure Geelong’s water supply for the next 50 years.
The strategy relies on securing significant additional borewater sources at Barwon Downs, Jan Juc and Newling-rook, in the Otways, and a reclamation project to provide recycled water to Shell’s Corio oil refinery.
Other measures include lining Ballan and Wurdee Boluc water channels and residential and industry efficiency programs.
Barwon Water would also boost use of recycled water from Black Rock Treatment Plant.
The authority would trial storing recycled water in an aquifer for an extra 2.7 billion litres of water.
“It’s a significant injection into water security for Geelong, the fastest-growing provincial area in the state,” Mr Bracks said.
“We’ve got to make sure we meet the demands of a growing population, a growing economy and also make sure we’ve got a sustainable water supply.”
Mr Thwaites said the Gover-nment wanted industry to rely more on recycling to free up fresh drinking water for residents.
He said the Government would provide $9.2 million to the $62 million project to recycle all water used at Shell.
“We want to boost recycling throughout the region,” Mr Thwaites said.
“We have a number of projects underway and 15 per cent of water is already recycled.
“The Shell proposal is an example of where industry can use recycled water. That frees up the fresh drinking water for the rest of the community.
“That’s why we’re prepared to invest in it.”
The outcome of feasibility studies hang over two of the Government’s borewater sources.
The sources included a 7 billion litre bulk entitlement that State Government would grant to Barwon Water from the Jan Juc aquifer.
Mr Bracks said if drawing from Newlingrook aquifer damaged Gellibrand River, Geelong would be connected to Melbourne, exposing residents to fluoridated water.
Mr Thwaites said the plan could cater for an additional 100,000 residents in Geelong.