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Barwon Downs: Boundary Creek and Big Swamp


30 September 2020

Annual Report: Boundary Creek and Big Swamp REPP

Barwon Water today submitted its first Annual Report for the Boundary Creek, Big Swamp and surrounding environment REPP to Southern Rural Water.

It also provided its Annual Workplan for 2020-21.

The Annual Report 2019-20 is available for download from the link on the Barwon Water Boundary Creek microsite.


28 February 2020

Boundary Creek and Big Swamp plan accepted

Southern Rural Water has today officially accepted the Boundary Creek, Big Swamp and surrounding environment Remediation and Environmental Protection Plan submitted by Barwon Water.

In September 2018 the Minister for Water directed Southern Rural Water to issue a notice requiring Barwon Water to submit and implement a remediation and environment protection plan for Boundary Creek, Big Swamp and the surrounding environment impacted by historical groundwater pumping at Barwon Downs.

On 20 December 2019, Barwon Water submitted its proposed plan to Southern Rural Water for review.

Southern Rural Water has provided Barwon Water with feedback which has since been incorporated into the plan, and which Barwon Water will begin to implement from 1 March.

The feedback was guided by an Independent Technical Review Panel and by input from the Barwon Downs Community Leaders Group, established by Southern Rural Water in 2019.

Southern Rural Water General Manager Customer Service, Craig Parker, thanked both groups for their expertise, knowledge and insights, which assisted in the review of the plan and how it will be implemented.

“We acknowledge the significant time and effort by everyone involved in the process, particularly the community members who have continued to advocate to ensure all perspectives are included in the plan. We look forward to their ongoing involvement as the plan is implemented.”

“This represents the first step on the long journey towards remediation of these waterways and surrounds,” he said.  “We are committed to ensuring that Barwon Water are accountable for the implementation of the plan.”

Barwon Water will provide quarterly progress updates to Southern Rural Water.

Links to the documents:


About the Community Leaders Group

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 has been to provide SRW with valuable local knowledge and community insight to support the s78 process and ongoing management of the resources.

The CLG has been guided by an Independent Chair, Shaun Cox.

SRW has received 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.

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

About the Independent Technical Review Panel 

SRW and its Independent Technical Review Panel (ITRP) provided feedback to Barwon Water on the scope of works and on the plan. The role of the panel has been 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 sought 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.


Licence renewal application under Section 58 (withdrawn 2019)

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 that 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

Southern Rural Water acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters on which we work and live, and we respect their deep and ongoing connection to Country. For more about the First Nations peoples on whose Country we work, click here.