Barwon Water welcomes plan acceptance

about 1 month ago

Barwon Water is looking forward to getting to work following acceptance by Southern Rural Water of the proposed remediation and environmental protection plan for Boundary Creek, Big Swamp and the surrounding environment.

Barwon Water submitted the proposed plan to Southern Rural Water on December 20 last year and, after incorporation of Southern Rural Water’s feedback into the plan this week, is excited to immediately implement the adaptive management approach outlined in the plan.

Barwon Water managing director Tracey Slatter said that the action in the plan to keep Big Swamp wet via provision of supplementary flows to Boundary Creek was already under way.

“By keeping the swamp wet, the plan aims to stabilise the acidification process that takes place due to the drying and wetting of the acid sulfate soils within the swamp, and reduce the risk of acid flush events in Boundary Creek in the long-term.

“In addition to maintaining the supplementary water releases, the first step in the adaptive plan includes continued collection of data to refine the design of the preferred remediation option, which is to install hydraulic barriers to slow and spread the flow of surface water through Big Swamp.”

Other early measures in the plan relate to the surrounding area investigation to ascertain if other areas within the regional groundwater system have been adversely impacted by historical management of groundwater pumping.

Barwon Water will share the outcomes of the assessment of these other areas with Southern Rural Water to determine what remediation steps need to be taken if environmentally significant impacts are confirmed.

Barwon Water will provide quarterly updates to Southern Rural Water as it implements the plan.

“We are looking forward to working with Southern Rural Water over the coming months and years as we implement the plan, share data and adapt the plan based on observed outcomes.”

Ms Slatter said the remediation plan was a clear statement of Barwon Water’s unwavering commitment to delivering successful environmental outcomes and working with the community.

“We remain committed to keeping the local community and key stakeholders informed regarding the progress of remediation and to sharing the findings and outcomes of the plan.”

Barwon Water will host a meeting with its Remediation Working Group members and their nominated independent technical experts to share Southern Rural Water’s feedback on the Remediation Plan.

Barwon Water will also invite the working group members to say how they and the broader community would like to be involved as the plan is implemented.

The remediation plan responds to the requirements of a Ministerial Notice issued to Barwon Water under section 78 of the Water Act 1989.