A water efficiency program aimed at agricultural customers in Colac and neighbouring towns is beginning to reap rewards.

Barwon Water’s conservation officer, Tom MacDonald, has visited more than 100 farms in the Colac-Otway region and identified potential savings of tens of millions of litres of drinking water.

A number of farmers in the region have also received grants from Barwon Water and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) to implement efficiency projects.

Seven projects were completed last financial year with an expected combined savings of 35 million litres annually. A further eight grant applications will be finalised by the end of 2013. Most projects involved a combination of water efficiency and better use of alternative water sources.


Case study: Beani cattle farm, Irrewarra

Serge and Gail Beani run a 400-head beef cattle farm at Irrewarra, north-east of Colac.

Water usage is a significant cost in running the farm and the Beanis are pro-active in saving water.

With a DEPI grant and help from Barwon Water’s Tom MacDonald, the Beanis developed a network of pipes to supply 45 drinking water troughs across the farm. The troughs are connected to a tank and dam complete with a solar powered pump.

By substituting drinking water with rain water, the new system is expected to save at least 2 million litres (and more than $4,000) annually.

The Beanis are also taking part in a new monitoring program that uses dataloggers and wireless technology to track water use and identify leaks.


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Chris is a publishing veteran, having launched more than ten magazines over the course of his career. As the Publisher of Utility, his role today is more hands-off, but every now and then he likes to jump back on the tools and flex his wordsmithing muscles.

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