Southern Rural Water has today issued a notice for Barwon Water to develop and implement a remediation plan for the Big Swamp and the Boundary Creek area, which has been impacted by groundwater pumping in previous years from the Barwon Downs borefield.
The notice was issued under Section 78 of the Water Act (1989), at the request of the Minister for Water, Lisa Neville.
Barwon Water is required to continue not to operate the borefield and, by December 2019, to have submitted a plan for the remediation and environmental protection of the area. The plan will be subject to independent technical review.
Barwon Water is already working on the development of a remediation plan with input from community members, stakeholders and independent technical experts.
The notice to prepare and implement a remediation plan is independent of Barwon Water’s imminent application to renew its groundwater extraction licence under Section 58.
The licence renewal application will be considered over several months, through to May 2019. Southern Rural Water will appoint an independent technical panel and is forming a Barwon Licence Community Reference Group, including stakeholders, landholders, interest groups and community members, to assist with review of the licence renewal application and any submissions.
The community reference group will provide local knowledge, expertise and feedback on the Barwon Water application to help inform Southern Rural Water’s decision.