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27 March 2024

Wet and hot conditions throughout summer impacted many of Coliban Water’s supply systems, causing changes to water quality across our region.

Chief Officer Assets and Operations, Danny McLean, said constantly changing conditions in rivers, creeks, channels, and reservoirs have made the job of treating and delivering drinking water more challenging in recent months.

“Weather events like floods and extreme heat result in higher levels of organic matter, algal blooms and other contaminants entering our waterways, and this means our water treatment plants must work harder to deliver drinking water to our customers,” he said.

In towns connected to the Murray and Campaspe Rivers, some customers have noticed changes to the look, taste, or odour of their drinking water due to increased levels of geosmin in their raw water supply. While elevated levels of geosmin do not pose a health risk, it can create a distinct odour, even when present in the tiniest amounts.

“We’re working on a number of projects to help our Echuca Water Treatment Plant better manage poor quality raw water. 

“Our water quality teams monitor and test both the raw water and drinking water quality constantly. We regularly adjust our processes to ensure our treatment plants are working as efficiently as possible. This is particularly important with extreme weather events expected to become more frequent,” Mr McLean said.

“We’re now seeing improvements to raw water quality across our supply region as conditions settle with the onset of the cooler autumn temperatures.”

You can learn more about impacts to water quality during summer at 

While many towns in the north of the Coliban Water region source water from rivers, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Kyneton draw water from three storages near Kyneton, and are less impacted by changes in raw water quality.

The Upper Coliban, Lauriston and Malmsbury Reservoirs received 8,548 megalitres of inflow between December and February, almost double the long-term average.

“It’s typical for our storage levels to fall over summer with less rain and increased demand, but these storages are still sitting at 86% capacity, holding a combined 59,799 megalitres,” Mr McLean said.

“We are also holding 54,888 megalitres or (98%) of our share of Lake Eppalock. This is 2,084 megalitres than at the same time last year.

“At Malmsbury Reservoir, 249 millimetres of rain fell during summer, which is double the long-term average. Most of this was received in January, with 152 millimetres of rain falling.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, summer rainfall was 18.9% above the 1961–1990 average for Australia as a whole.

Find out more about our storages at

Last updated on 27 Mar 2024
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