Coliban Water’s 2013 Annual Report highlights an investment of $41.8 million in projects across its region during the last financial year.

Managing Director Jeff Rigby said the end of the financial year was also the end of its 2008-2013 Water Plan.

“Over the five years of that plan we delivered a $203.3 million of capital works – a significant investment for the customers and communities we serve to maintain and where appropriate improve our service to customers,” Mr Rigby said.

Highlighted projects in the last 12 months include the Raywood and Sebastian pipeline connection to Bendigo providing greater water security for customers in these areas.

$13 million of improvements were made at water treatment plants across the region including Bendigo, Rochester, Gunbower, Leitchville, Elmore, Korong Vale, Boort, Trentham, Lockington, Heathcote and Pyramid Hill.

The Rochester Water Treatment Plant upgrade and flood protection works are now complete including the construction of a wall around the treatment plant to maintain operations in the event of future flooding.

“The modernisation of the Harcourt rural water system made significant progress during the year,” Mr Rigby said.

“Our focus was on customer engagement to find out which of our existing customers want to be a part of this new $40 million system.”

Mr Rigby said construction on the new Harcourt rural system is expected to commence in early 2014 with around two thirds of Harcourt rural customers signed up to receive a service from the new system.

Coliban Water’s Annual Report showed the corporation’s financial performance and position at year end was in line with forecasts.

“Our main financial objectives for the year were to continue to maintain positive operating cash flow and positive working capital which was achieved.

“We reported an operating loss but overall the financial sustainability of our business is trending in the right direction,” Mr Rigby said.

Mr Rigby said revenue was slightly up for the financial year, largely due to higher than projected water demand during a hot and dry summer.

“Our total operating expenditure was less than budgeted. We were able to provide supply from upper Coliban reservoirs for most of the year which meant pumping of water through the Goldfields Superpipe was minimal which helped keep operating costs down,” Mr Rigby said.

Coliban Water started a new arrangement on 1 July for the management of most its water treatment plants and pipeline networks. A key objective of the new arrangement is to continue to maintain high service standards to customers and to generate greater operating efficiencies.

Chris Bland

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