The Coliban Main Channel will undergo a once-in-a-decade structural inspection in late July, to ensure the channel, which supplies Bendigo and surrounds with drinking water, is maintained properly. 

Executive General Manager Climate and Population Adaptation, Steve Healy, said the structural inspection will include a full-length walk-through of the 70km channel, an exercise that is only undertaken once every ten years.

“The Coliban Main Channel delivers drinking water to our customers from Kyneton up to Bendigo, as well as supplying raw water to 1,349 rural water customers, so it’s a critical piece of infrastructure that needs to be maintained appropriately.

“We’re continually maintaining and renewing sections of the main channel as part of our routine maintenance program, and this major inspection, along with smaller, more regular inspections, informs our priorities for planning the program,” Mr Healy said.

Coliban Water engineers, environmental experts and project managers will work with consultants GHD to undertake the assessment, with the focus on the condition and integrity of the structure.

Mr Healy said, “In the most recent works in 2019, contractors replaced 660m of channel in the north Harcourt area at a cost of $1.4 million.”

Renewals and maintenance to the channel help improve water loss and environmental impact, and all works undertaken are conducted in accordance with the organisation’s Environmental Management Plan.

The Coliban Main Channel was designed by engineer Joseph Brady in the late 1870s and features a number of structures of significant heritage value such as granite abutments, chutes and tunnel openings.

“We worked with Heritage Victoria to make sure any works we do don’t affect the original fabric or visual appearance of the structures on the Victorian Heritage Register,” Mr Healy said.

The inspection, which will not affect any customers or their water supply, began on 19 July 2021 and will take approximately three weeks to complete.

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