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Barwon Downs


Remediation plan direction notice under Section 78 (s78)

On 11 September 2018, Southern Rural Water (SRW), as the Minister for Water’s delegate, issued Barwon Water a direction notice under Section 78 of the Water Act 1989 to submit and implement a legally enforceable remediation plan for Boundary Creek, Big Swamp and the surrounding environment impacted by groundwater pumping at Barwon Downs.

Barwon Water submitted its remediation plan Scope of Works on 20 December 2018, and feedback was given by SRW in February 2019. Barwon Water provided a revised Scope of Works in July 2019.

The Barwon Downs Community Leaders Group (CLG) is an evolution of the Community Reference Group set up to assist Southern Rural Water (SRW) in its consideration of an application by Barwon Water to renew a licence to operate the Barwon Downs Borefield in the Gerangamete Groundwater Management Area (GMA).

The role of the CLG is to provide SRW with valuable local knowledge and community insight to support the s78 process and ongoing management of the resources.

The CLG is guided by an Independent Chair, Shaun Cox.

 SRW receives input from the CLG to:

  • Understand the community perspective and how that has been addressed through the deliverables submitted by Barwon Water;
  • Inform feedback and amendments required to the deliverables.

In addition, SRW will work with the CLG to determine the long-term engagement objectives and approach for the Barwon Downs area.

SRW and its Independent Technical Review Panel (ITRP) provided feedback to Barwon Water on the scope of works. The role of the panel is to provide independent expert technical advice to Southern Rural Water to support the assessment of the plan.

The members of the ITRP are:

  • Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus
  • Dr Jeff Taylor
  • Hugh Middlemis

SRW seeks advice from the ITRP to:

  • confirm any changes to the Plan that are required to be made by Barwon Water;
  • confirm and accept the scientific methodology used to prepare the Plan; and
  • verify and accept the preferred controls and actions presented in the Plan.

20 December 2019: Barwon Water has submitted its proposed plan for the remediation and environmental protection of Boundary Creek, Big Swamp and the surrounding environment to SRW for consideration.

SRW will now review and assess the proposed Remediation and Environmental Protection Plan against the agreed scope and will be guided by expert advice from the ITRP, and by community perspective from the CLG.

Upon acceptance of the Plan by SRW, Barwon Water must finalise the Plan (including any changes required by SRW). Barwon Water will be expected to begin to implement the Plan by 1 March 2020.  The progress of implementation will be subject to ongoing reporting to SRW.

  •  Click here for a link to the Remediation Plan on the Barwon Water website.

Licence renewal application under Section 58

Southern Rural Water (SRW) assesses licences for extraction of groundwater in southern Victoria, in accordance with the Water Act 1989, taking into consideration relevant policies and community and stakeholder expectations, in order to ensure groundwater resources are managed in an equitable and sustainable manner. 

Barwon Water previously held a licence for extraction at Barwon Downs in the Gerangamete Groundwater Management Area. It expired on 30 June 2019.

 On 14 March 2019, Barwon Water withdrew its application under Section 58 of the Water Act 1989 for the renewal of its licence. For further enquiries, please contact the SRW project team on 1300 139510.

 Completion documents

 The following reports and summaries are available at the close of the process:

 A letter from the Barwon Downs Licence Renewal Application Community Reference Group

 A letter from the SRW Technical Review Panel of general observations on the application

 An overview of submissions received