Barwon Water and Deakin University have deepened their partnership. This follows the signing of a funding agreement to extend Barwon Water’s Class A recycled water supply to Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus. It will save an estimated 60 million litres (ML) of drinking water annually.
Constructing a 6.2km gravity pipeline from Armstrong Creek will enable recycled water to replace potable water. This will mainly be used for irrigation at the Waurn Ponds campus.
The agreement will see Barwon Water’s on-the-ground work begin next year. The pipeline will deliver 60 ML per year of recycled water to the campus. It forms part of Deakin’s Integrated Water Management (IWM) project.
The IWM project is a key aspect of Deakin University’s sustainability commitments and vision. They seek to establish its Waurn Ponds campus as a living laboratory for applied research and teaching.
The IWM project aims to respond to significant water-related challenges like flooding. It also means securing an alternative water supply, protecting and restoring waterways near the campus, and embracing Traditional Owner values.
Deakin University’s acting Director of Sustainability, Zoe Roloff, said the pipeline was the next step in a series of exciting initiatives already underway at the Waurn Ponds campus.
“The project began in 2022 by converting the network of ponds on campus into a constructed wetland system. This will see increased water quality and biodiversity along the waterway and into Waurn Ponds Creek.
“As the climate changes and we continue to grow, we must manage our valuable water assets deliberately. The pipeline and supply of recycled water is a key element that will help us enhance our environment’s sustainability while supporting the future needs of the campus.”
Increasing drinking water savings supports everyone
Deakin recently installed a recycled water pipeline on campus. It is ready for the Barwon Water pipeline connection, due for completion in 2024.
Barwon Water General Manager Planning, Delivery and Environment Seamus Butcher said he was pleased to support Deakin’s continued progress on its IWM project. This aligns with both organisations’ sustainability strategies and strong commitments to contribute to the communities in which they belong.
“Integrated water management focuses on a vision for integrated, collaborative water cycle management. It enables sustainable environmental, social, cultural and economic prosperity for the Barwon region,” said Butcher. “Barwon Water has been working with Deakin University to investigate the extension of a Class A recycled water pipeline. It provides a substitute for potable water used mainly for irrigation on campus.”
Butcher said Barwon Water was in the functional design stage for the 6.2km recycled water gravity pipeline.
The recycled water pipeline could deliver up to 630 ML/year to customers along the pipeline route. This will allow for future opportunities for local industry, businesses and farms to save on potable water use in the area.
Deakin’s IWM project includes a $1 million investment from the Victorian Government. This funding has come through the $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF).
Deakin’s VHESIF program represents one of the largest investments in Deakin’s research in a decade. $133 million in combined funding from Deakin University and the Victorian Government will support eleven major projects across five locations.
For more information on Class A recycled water and its approved uses, see https://www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/water-and-waste/recycled-water/class-a.
Barwon Water and Deakin University Partnership
Barwon Water and Deakin University signed a collaboration agreement in 2018 to help deliver their shared strategic goals. These goals include connecting students with research projects that can help solve some of our most challenging sustainability and engineering problems.
Since then, the collaboration has continued to go from strength to strength. There has been expanding research focused on smart water technologies, sustainability, renewable energy, machine learning and combating emerging water contaminants.
As part of the collaboration, Barwon Water now supports seven Deakin PhD candidates and works on undergraduate projects with the University.
Deakin’s PhD candidates and students can answer real-world questions relevant to Barwon Water’s mission to secure the region’s liveability and sustainability. They experience working in a professional environment, develop networks in the water industry and see first-hand how science informs Barwon Water’s operations.
Barwon Water and Deakin University continue to partner on sustainability projects that improve the regional response to climate change, sustainability and community well-being.
This collaboration helps meet Barwon Water’s Strategy 2030 and Deakin’s Sustainability Commitments. This includes delivering their Integrated Water Management program. Both organisations are working towards regional prosperity, turning the many challenges confronting the region today into exciting opportunities.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and TAFE Gayle Tierney
“Research and innovation are essential to Victoria’s continued economic success. It is why we are supporting universities, their students and academics to become international leaders in their field through the $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund.”
“We welcome Deakin University’s partnership with Barwon Water. It will help further establish Waurn Ponds as a centrepiece of Deakin’s sustainability efforts. It will be a place where students and researchers can innovate within a living laboratory.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Harriet Shing
“This new recycled water pipeline will deliver a secure water supply for Deakin University. It will ensure they can keep their grounds green and irrigated as we face a drying climate.”
“Using recycled water is critical to developing sustainable water supplies into the future and saving our precious drinking water to service Geelong and surrounding regions growing population.”
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