A new pipeline connecting Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven to the Victorian Water Grid has been turned on, delivering a more secure water supply to the state’s regional communities.

Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville visited the Aireys Inlet Water Treatment Plant to mark the start of flows to the towns from the greater Geelong supply system.

A $6.6million upgrade of the water supply system involved constructing an 11km 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.

Ms Lisa Neville said, “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.”

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 April 2016, a blue-green algae outbreak in the reservoir caused taste and odour issues – which will not be an issue due to the new pipeline. 

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