Our challenge

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[each subheading below to be linked to content underneath]

  • Our climate is getting hotter and drier
  • Our water supplies are being impacted
    • Geelong
    • Colac
    • Apollo Bay
    • Lorne

  • Our environment is being impacted
  • Our demand for water is increasing
  • What else has changed
  • Our opportunity


Our climate is getting hotter and drier

Our climate is changing; it is getting hotter and drier.

Since 1910, Australia’s climate has warmed by 1.4%.

[insert graph showing rise in regional temperature over time]


In January 2019, our region had the driest month on record.

Communities across Australia are experiencing more extreme heat events and less rainfall.

[graph showing rainfall stats for south eastern Australia]


Our water supplies are being impacted

Less rainfall has a direct impact on our region's water supply.

Geelong

West Barwon Reservoir in the Otways, one of our biggest catchments, has seen a 30% reduction in annual inflows (water that comes into the reservoir) since 1997. This equates to a third of Greater Geelong region's annual water use.

*graph below to be updated*

Lal Lal Reservoir, which forms part of the Moorabool catchment and also supplies water to parts of Geelong, has seen a X% reduction in inflows since X; this equates to a X of Greater Geelong region's total water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]

Colac

West Gellibrand Reservoir in the Otways, which forms part of the catchment for the Colac region, has seen a X% reduction in annual inflows since X; this equates to a X of Colac’s annual water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]

Local inflows were so low in 2013 and 2016 that water restrictions were required in Colac to balance supply and demand. In late 2017, a pipeline was completed so that Colac can now be supplied from the same sources as the Greater Geelong region if local inflows are low.

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay, which relies on the Barham River, has seen a X% reduction in river flows since 1997. This equates to a X of Apollo Bay's annual water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]


Lorne

Allen Reservoir holds water pumped from St George River to supply Lorne. There has been a X% reduction in river flows since X. This equates to a X of Lorne’s total water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]


Our environment is being impacted

A warmer and drier climate also affects our region’s environment in many ways including:

  • Reduced water flowing down rivers and waterways, creating stress on our waterways and ecosystems.
  • Drier landscapes, increasing the threat of bushfire to our communities.
  • More frequent extreme weather events, often causing damage.
  • Longer and drier summers, affecting liveability.


Our demand for water is increasing

Barwon Water supplies around 35,000 million litres of water annually across the region.

Since the 1980s, our region’s water use has reduced by 20% despite our population almost doubling in this time from 163,000 to more than 300,000 people.; This has been achieved through a variety of measures including water efficiency and conservation, improved technology, behaviour change and the introduction of recycled water.

*graph below to be updated*

However, as we experience more extreme heat events and less rainfall, we are seeing an increased demand for water across our region. Over recent years, daily demand for water has increased by over 20% from 172 litres per person, per day to 218 litres per person, per day.

[insert graph showing increased consumption]

As our region continues to prosper, we expect the population to once again double to 540,000 people by 2065. This could increase our demand for water to more than 50,000 million litres a year, if daily demand increases to over 250 litres per person, per day in line with recent trends.

At the same time, it is forecast that Victoria will experience a median temperature increase of 1.9-2.6 degrees, annual rainfall will decline by a further 5% and the water that flows in our waterways will reduce by a further 20% by 2065.
(Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Water Supplies in Victoria (DELWP 2016).

What else has changed?

We rely on a stable climate to deliver sustainable, affordable and reliable water to our customers and community.

In times when surface water supplies are low, Barwon Water is able to access standby sources, including additional water from the Greater Yarra system through the Melbourne to Geelong pipeline and groundwater from the Anglesea borefield.

Where previously we had access to the Barwon Downs borefield as a critical standby source (last used January 2016 when Geelong storages were low), we made a decision in March 2019 to not reapply for a licence to use the borefield until remediation of the historical impacts of groundwater pumping is complete.

Without the Barwon Downs borefield, our water future forecast has changed. As our climate gets hotter and drier and our population grows, demand for water in the Greater Geelong region could outstrip supply by 2029.

Our opportunity

This challenge presents an exciting opportunity to rethink where our water comes from and how we use water.

Recognising that rainfall is a reducing source opens up a range of new possibilities, including non-rainfall dependent options to supply water and innovative ways to save water.

Water for our Future is about taking up this challenge in partnership with our community and regional leaders to design a new water future for our region.

A future that not only ensures enough water comes out of the tap, but also harnesses the value of water to support healthy, sustainable, liveable and prosperous communities now and for years to come.

Your contributions will help us develop our next Urban Water Strategy, our long term plan for ensuring a sustainable, reliable and affordable water future for everyone.

[each subheading below to be linked to content underneath]

  • Our climate is getting hotter and drier
  • Our water supplies are being impacted
    • Geelong
    • Colac
    • Apollo Bay
    • Lorne

  • Our environment is being impacted
  • Our demand for water is increasing
  • What else has changed
  • Our opportunity


Our climate is getting hotter and drier

Our climate is changing; it is getting hotter and drier.

Since 1910, Australia’s climate has warmed by 1.4%.

[insert graph showing rise in regional temperature over time]


In January 2019, our region had the driest month on record.

Communities across Australia are experiencing more extreme heat events and less rainfall.

[graph showing rainfall stats for south eastern Australia]


Our water supplies are being impacted

Less rainfall has a direct impact on our region's water supply.

Geelong

West Barwon Reservoir in the Otways, one of our biggest catchments, has seen a 30% reduction in annual inflows (water that comes into the reservoir) since 1997. This equates to a third of Greater Geelong region's annual water use.

*graph below to be updated*

Lal Lal Reservoir, which forms part of the Moorabool catchment and also supplies water to parts of Geelong, has seen a X% reduction in inflows since X; this equates to a X of Greater Geelong region's total water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]

Colac

West Gellibrand Reservoir in the Otways, which forms part of the catchment for the Colac region, has seen a X% reduction in annual inflows since X; this equates to a X of Colac’s annual water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]

Local inflows were so low in 2013 and 2016 that water restrictions were required in Colac to balance supply and demand. In late 2017, a pipeline was completed so that Colac can now be supplied from the same sources as the Greater Geelong region if local inflows are low.

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay, which relies on the Barham River, has seen a X% reduction in river flows since 1997. This equates to a X of Apollo Bay's annual water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]


Lorne

Allen Reservoir holds water pumped from St George River to supply Lorne. There has been a X% reduction in river flows since X. This equates to a X of Lorne’s total water use.

[insert graph showing reduced flows]


Our environment is being impacted

A warmer and drier climate also affects our region’s environment in many ways including:

  • Reduced water flowing down rivers and waterways, creating stress on our waterways and ecosystems.
  • Drier landscapes, increasing the threat of bushfire to our communities.
  • More frequent extreme weather events, often causing damage.
  • Longer and drier summers, affecting liveability.


Our demand for water is increasing

Barwon Water supplies around 35,000 million litres of water annually across the region.

Since the 1980s, our region’s water use has reduced by 20% despite our population almost doubling in this time from 163,000 to more than 300,000 people.; This has been achieved through a variety of measures including water efficiency and conservation, improved technology, behaviour change and the introduction of recycled water.

*graph below to be updated*

However, as we experience more extreme heat events and less rainfall, we are seeing an increased demand for water across our region. Over recent years, daily demand for water has increased by over 20% from 172 litres per person, per day to 218 litres per person, per day.

[insert graph showing increased consumption]

As our region continues to prosper, we expect the population to once again double to 540,000 people by 2065. This could increase our demand for water to more than 50,000 million litres a year, if daily demand increases to over 250 litres per person, per day in line with recent trends.

At the same time, it is forecast that Victoria will experience a median temperature increase of 1.9-2.6 degrees, annual rainfall will decline by a further 5% and the water that flows in our waterways will reduce by a further 20% by 2065.
(Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Water Supplies in Victoria (DELWP 2016).

What else has changed?

We rely on a stable climate to deliver sustainable, affordable and reliable water to our customers and community.

In times when surface water supplies are low, Barwon Water is able to access standby sources, including additional water from the Greater Yarra system through the Melbourne to Geelong pipeline and groundwater from the Anglesea borefield.

Where previously we had access to the Barwon Downs borefield as a critical standby source (last used January 2016 when Geelong storages were low), we made a decision in March 2019 to not reapply for a licence to use the borefield until remediation of the historical impacts of groundwater pumping is complete.

Without the Barwon Downs borefield, our water future forecast has changed. As our climate gets hotter and drier and our population grows, demand for water in the Greater Geelong region could outstrip supply by 2029.

Our opportunity

This challenge presents an exciting opportunity to rethink where our water comes from and how we use water.

Recognising that rainfall is a reducing source opens up a range of new possibilities, including non-rainfall dependent options to supply water and innovative ways to save water.

Water for our Future is about taking up this challenge in partnership with our community and regional leaders to design a new water future for our region.

A future that not only ensures enough water comes out of the tap, but also harnesses the value of water to support healthy, sustainable, liveable and prosperous communities now and for years to come.

Your contributions will help us develop our next Urban Water Strategy, our long term plan for ensuring a sustainable, reliable and affordable water future for everyone.