Water Flows To Aireys Inlet And Fairhaven

12 May 2016

More regional communities in the state’s south west will be connected to the Victorian Water Grid, with a new pipeline to Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven being turned on for the first time this week.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville visited the Aireys Inlet Water Treatment Plant today to mark the start of flows to the towns this week from the greater Geelong supply system – which will provide these coastal communities with a more secure water supply.

A $6.6 million upgrade of the water supply system involved constructing an 11-kilometre pipeline from Anglesea to the Aireys Inlet water treatment plant and upgrading a pump station and associated fittings.

The new pipeline offered the best solution to replacing the area’s existing ageing water treatment plant, particularly in terms of flexibility.

Previously the area was dependent on Painkalac Reservoir which relies on rainfall and is vulnerable to changes in climate – whereas the Greater Geelong system can draw on a number of sources at any time to meet changing circumstances – including its connection to the Melbourne storage system.

Painkalac Reservoir will be taken out of service but maintained for recreational use, fire fighting purposes and ensuring continued environmental flows into Painkalac Creek. This follows extensive community consultation.

The reservoir will now open to the public for walking, horse riding, bicycle riding, bird watching and recreational fishing. Barwon Water also will support the development of picnic facilities and educational signage at key locations.

The connection to the Geelong system provides protection against water quality issues, which have been a problem for Painkalac Reservoir in the past.

As recently as last month, a blue-green algae outbreak in the reservoir caused taste and odour issues – which will be a thing of the past thanks to the new pipeline.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville

“Low rainfall and dry conditions have left some towns in the region on water restrictions, which only highlights the importance of this connection for Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven.”

“This project has connected Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven to the Victorian water grid – which provides flexibility to deliver water where and when it is most needed and helps us meet the challenges of climate change and population growth head on.”

“Painkalac Reservoir is an important asset for the Aireys Inlet community and I’m pleased it will be opened up for recreational activities – adding to the region’s liveability and tourism activities.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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