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Barwon Water is partnering with the community for its Water for our Future program by hosting a community panel to establish what community members want the region to look like in the future and the role that water plays in that. 

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,” Ms Slatter said. 

“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 that  was sending approximately 15,000 letters to randomly selected members of the community inviting them to register their interest to participate. 

“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,” Ms Slatter said. 

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.

At the end of February 2020, Barwon will also host the first of five regional community workshops in Torquay, Victoria, as part of its Water for our Future program. 

“Not only are the forums a great place for community members to have their say on the region’s water future, but also to learn about the region’s water, and learn more about the challenges we face due to a hotter, drier climate and the continued growth of our region,” Ms Slatter said.  

“At the workshops, we want to hear what water means to our communities and explore the question ‘given it is raining less, how do we create a water future that balances all our needs?’ 

“With a 30 per cent reduction in inflows to our major dams over the past 20 years and our region’s population predicted to double over the next 50 years, it’s time to think differently about how we use water and where our water comes from.”

In addition to the Torquay workshop, four more events are scheduled for Bannockburn, Leopold (incorporating Geelong, Queenscliffe and the Bellarine), Apollo Bay and Colac.

Those interested in attending any of the community workshops are encouraged to sign up.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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