Please review and manage the Cookie settings below. Apart from 'Strictly necessary cookies', you can change other cookie settings if present, at any time by clicking the 'Cookie Settings' link in the footer of the page.
Barwon Water is inviting people from across the region to help shape the future by joining the Water for our Future “Online” Community Panel.
From 20 July, invitations will arrive at 15,000 randomly-selected households, encouraging people to express their interest.
The panel will be made up of a diverse mix of 60 community members who will help influence our 50-year water strategy.
With less rain and a hotter climate, it’s time to think differently about water and where it comes from.
The panel will explore the challenge of providing water to the region in a changing climate, and will develop a vision for our water future and recommendations for Barwon Water to consider in our strategy.
Panellists will receive payment to help cover costs associated with participating on the panel and to recognise the significant investment of their time.
We are putting a special call out to people aged 15-24 years to participate on the panel to ensure young people have a say in decisions about their future.
All young people in this age bracket can express their interest and do not need to receive an invitation to be eligible to register online – www.mosaiclab.com.au/register-barwonwaterfuture
We are also especially interested in hearing from businesses from all parts of the region and from people from the Surf Coast (from Anglesea to Lorne and incorporating Winchelsea, Moriac and Mt Moriac), Colac and townships in the Otways, including Apollo Bay.
The expression of interest period runs from 20 July to midnight, 16 August 2020.
People who received an invitation to the join panel earlier in the year will also be able to register their interest during this period.
Panel meetings will be held online, with support available to help people participate from the comfort of home. Some later panel meetings may be held face-to-face, if panel members agree and it is safe to do so.
Barwon Water hosted community workshops in Torquay and Bannockburn as part of our Water for our Future program during February and March.
The workshops provided an opportunity for us to hear from our communities and explore the question, ‘With less rain and a hotter climate, it's time to think differently about how we use water and where it comes from. How can we create a new water future that balances all our needs?’
Twenty people took part at Torquay on 27 February and there were 14 participants at Bannockburn on 3 March.
Innovation, efficiency, the environment, individual responsibility and the value of water were important themes coming through in the discussions
The main themes discussed at Torquay were:
The main themes discussed at Bannockburn were:
For further information, read the Torquay and Bannockburn community workshop report.
Additional online workshops were held for communities in Geelong and the Bellarine, Apollo Bay and Colac in June 2020. A report outlining the discussions at these workshops will be available soon.
There have been some slight changes to the Water for our Future program in light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
These changes have been made in accordance with official government advice and in recognition that this is a difficult and uncertain time for our community.
Our challenge of ensuring a secure water future in a hotter and drier climate remains, however we have adjusted the timelines of the program to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our participants and staff and provide the best opportunity for people to be involved.
New timelines for the Water for our Future Community Panel
One of the key steps in our program is establishing the Water for our Future Community Panel - a group of 60 people representing the range of views and experiences in our region.
Working together, the panel will firstly develop a vision and criteria for our water future and, at a later stage, recommend a range of options for us to consider.
The panel will now meet for the first time in October 2020, instead of April 2020.
The format for these sessions will either be in person or online, depending on official government advice at the time. Subsequent panel sessions will be held in 2021.
For an overview of our process, visit the our engagement process page.
Hearing from our community
We heard some great feedback and ideas at our first two community workshops held in Torquay and Bannockburn in February and March 2020. We look forward to sharing the outcomes of these sessions soon.
Unfortunately, due to the advice regarding coronavirus, the remaining workshops due to be held in March in Leopold, Apollo Bay and Colac were postponed.
We are looking at alternative ways to host these workshops in mid to late June and will update this website with details soon.
We are continuing to encourage our community to share their views and ideas via our online conversation kit. Like the community workshops, the conversation kit encourages participants to consider scenarios for the future and share new ideas. The kit can be completed individually or by bringing together a group of people online.
All feedback will be shared with our community, as well as with the Water for our Future Community Panel, to help inform its discussions.
We thank our community and stakeholders for their understanding as we adapt to our new ways of working and engaging with our community.
Invitations to register interest in being part of a Community Panel for Barwon Water’s Water for our Future program are in the mail and could arrive in some readers’ letterboxes any time from February 17.
Barwon Water managing director Tracey Slatter said the panel would play an important role developing a vision for the region’s water future.
“While Barwon Water can design solutions on our own, we know we get better outcomes when we get input from our customers and community.
“The panel is another platform in our program for people to come together and share different views and perspectives about our water future.”
The Community Panel will be informed by independent experts and the feedback and ideas received from the community via pop-ups, events, workshops, focus groups, surveys, and an online Ideas Lab.
Ms Slatter said that recruitment for the panel was being managed by an independent third-party who was sending approximately 15,000 letters to randomly selected members of the community inviting them to register their interest to participate.
Those who do so will then go into a pool from which the 60-member panel will be selected so it represents a cross-section of the community.
“While the invitation itself is from myself and Barwon Water chair Jo Plummer, the letter and selection process is being managed by the independent third party,” Ms Slatter said.
“In order to maintain total independence, no-one at Barwon Water knows who has been selected to receive an invitation or who will be on the panel until it meets for the first time. This will ensure that the panel is broadly representative of our region.”
The panel will meet nine times throughout 2020, with the first meeting being at the end of April.
Later in the year, the panel will provide a list of options for Barwon Water to consider as it develops its Urban Water Strategy, Barwon Water’s plan to ensure a sustainable, reliable and affordable water future for everyone.
Ms Slatter said the panel represented a fabulous opportunity for people to help shape the region’s water future as Barwon Water enables the region’s prosperity through affordable water and sewerage services.
As well as having the opportunity to contribute to the region’s future, panel members will receive payment to help cover costs associated with taking part and to recognise their significant commitment to the region and their community.
Since Water for our Future launched in late August 2019, we have spoken to members of the community, local groups and community leaders about what water means to them and to the future of our region.
We attended 13 different community events and heard from more than 3000 people about what they value about water.
We learned that people see water as essential for life. They see water playing a key role in supporting the health and wellbeing of our people, our environment and our open spaces.
For further information, read the ‘What we’ve heard’ document.
On 6 December 2019, we hosted a regional forum to hear from leaders in government, business, industry, community and the environment.
In early 2020, we will host similar community workshops across the region and encourage all groups and individuals to come along. Details will be advertised in early 2020.
All feedback will be considered by a community panel - representing people from across the region - that will meet for the first time in 2020. The panel will set a vision for our water future and criteria to assess the ideas we have heard.
On 6 December 2019, Barwon Water hosted the Water for our Future Regional Forum in partnership with Deakin University and G21.
Fifty-two leaders representing government, business, industry, young people, community and the environment gathered to consider what water means to our region and what a secure water future looks like.
The main themes that came from participants’ discussions about what was important for a shared water future were:
For further information, read the Water for our Future Regional Forum report.
On 27 November 2019, Barwon Water and Deakin University announced its Water for our Future partnership.
Deakin will help with a number of aspects of Water for our Future by providing expertise and advice during the Water for our Future program and to the community deliberative panel next year.
Barwon Water managing director Tracey Slatter said that Barwon Water and Deakin University have strong ties and she was excited to have Deakin University formally on board the Water for our Future journey.
“Water for our Future is all about collaboration - hearing from our community about what they want and helping our community understand the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead through the sharing of information and expertise, so collectively we come up with the best future water supply for our region.
“We consider Deakin University critical to helping Barwon Water and the community design a new water future.”
Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the University’s staff and students were working with Barwon Water on a number of interesting and exciting research projects around smart infrastructure, zero waste and a healthy environment.
“Research is a key enabler of innovation. It underpins an advanced economy by fostering a clever and creative society,” he said.
“We value our partnership with Barwon Water and recognise the opportunity presented by the Water for our Future program.
“It will enable us to build on existing PhD-level research initiatives that include investigation of our community attitudes to alternative water supplies; zero waste opportunities involving the reuse of bi-products from water treatment plants; and research examining the role of ‘citizen science’ to quantify the ecological response to environmental flows in our region.”
Barwon Water proudly sponsors three PhD students at Deakin University who are already helping to create a new water future. They are:
Deakin University Lecturer Civil Water Engineering, Science Engineering and Built Environment James Gong, Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter, Barwon Water-sponsored PhD students Duc Minh, Krista Bonfantine and Christina Semasinghe, and Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin at the Water for our Future kick-off event.
Barwon Water’s Water for our Future program was launched at the G21 Stakeholder Forum in Torquay on 30 August 2019.
The Minister for Water, Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville, offered her support for the program saying, “What we have seen over the past number of years is a significant decline against our 30 year averages in rainfall and inflows into our storages.
“We’ve made some significant investments in water infrastructure in our region but now is the time for Barwon Water to lead us to the next discussion about water for our future.”
At forum, Barwon Water led a panel discussion with climate scientist and research fellow at the University of Melbourne, Dr Ben Henley and International Chair of the Institute of Public Participation and Global Lead for Communication and Stakeholder Engagement at Aurecon, Kylie Cochrane.
G21 CEO Elaine Carbines announced that Water for our Future is a new G21 Priority Project acknowledging the vital role of water in the current and continued economic, cultural, environmental and social wellbeing of the region.