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01 November 2023

Coliban Water’s 2023 Annual Report will be tabled in Parliament today, outlining a year marked by significant flooding across the region, but also several key milestones and achievements. 

Managing Director, Damian Wells said he was proud of the support the organisation provided to customers. 

“In normal times, most of what we do is hidden from view. Yet the 2022 floods brought our work to the front of our customers minds and enabled us to show how much we care,” Mr Wells said.

“Throughout the crisis we remained committed to the delivery of vital water and sewage services. For more than 65 days, our 24-7 incident team worked hard to protect customer-funded assets and the environment.

“Where interruptions did occur, our immediate focus was on quickly restoring services ready for the clean-up and recovery process. In the longer-term, our focus shifted to financial support and to upgrading assets to ensure the infrastructure we manage on behalf of communities can withstand future extreme weather events.

“Since the flood events we’ve been pleased to deliver relief payments valued at almost $3.5 million to more than 9,600 customers, thanks to the Victorian Government. We also completed improvements to our Coliban Assist program this year, enabling us to help more customers impacted by cost-of-living pressures.”

Despite the flood emergency, Coliban Water implemented its largest capital works program in recent years. These works, and those earmarked over the next five years, will help the region navigate the challenges of climate change, population growth and ageing assets. 

Projects completed in 2022-23 included:

  • The $7.5 million Kyneton Recycled Water Irrigation Scheme.
  • A $6.2 million pipeline to secure the water supply for the growing areas of maiden Gully and Marong.
  • A $3.6 million pipeline project to improve water pressure in the Epsom and Huntly area.
  • A $10.2 million upgrade to Echuca Water Treatment Plant.
  • Planning and design for major upgrades at Bendigo and Castlemaine Water Reclamation Plants. 
  • A new $1 million sewer trunk replacing the ageing East Bendigo sewer main.
  • Construction of a new biosolids facility at Dunolly.

All Coliban Water initiatives are underpinned by a commitment to enhance the health of the region’s water, land and biodiversity. 

“Our efforts in this area continue to be strengthened thanks to our strong relationship with local Traditional Owner groups,” Mr Wells said.

“This year we finalised our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, and there is much we continue to learn about environmental stewardship by following the lead of our Traditional Owners.

“We know the delivery of water and sewage services is energy intensive and that we have a responsibility to ensure our activities are as efficient as possible.” 

“This year, a combination of carbon reduction offset projects, investment in renewable energy, and the purchase of green power, saw us reduce carbon offsets by 22.7% compared with last year. These initiatives are critical to our continued efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030,” he said.

“We are always looking to the future to ensure we continue to deliver the safe drinking water and sewage services our community depends on. 

“But each year we also reflect on our performance and whether we met the expectations our customers set for us. It’s one of the key ways we learn and improve,” Mr Wells explained. 

The 2023 Annual Report is now available.

Last updated on 02 Nov 2023
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