On 6 December, more than 50 leaders from across the Barwon region attended a regional forum in Torquay as part of the community engagement for Barwon Water’s innovative ‘Water for our Future’ program.
Representatives from councils, businesses and community met to discuss future water supply and water saving options in an event that will be mirrored in five community forums to be held across the region early next year.
The co-sponsored event with G21 and Deakin University prompted discussion among regional leaders about what the region’s water future could look like over the next 50 years and what could be done to ensure we have the type of future that we want.
Barwon Water managing director Tracey Slatter said she enjoyed hearing insights from invitees.
“While our water supplies are secure in the short to medium term, we’re in the early stages of setting our course for a water future where it is raining less and demand on our water supplies is greater due to population growth,” Ms Slatter said.
“At this forum, we collectively considered what water means to our region, what a secure water future looks like, and how we will know if we have achieved this.
“Regional and community forum attendees assisted us in creating a secure and sustainable water future that supports thriving communities and a healthy environment for years to come.”
G21 CEO Elaine Carbines said the Water for our Future program was a G21 priority project.
“We co-sponsored the event because we recognise that sustainable water supply is key to thriving communities and businesses in the G21 region.
“One of G21’s objectives is to protect and enhance our environment while balancing regional needs with diverse water sources. To achieve that, the region needs to be a national leader in water efficiency and the Water for our Future program is a good opportunity to share and hear thoughts around that.
“We’re excited to be part of a program that’s leading the conversation about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Industry Professor David Halliwell is leading Deakin’s involvement in the Water for our Future collaboration and said it was a great opportunity for Deakin’s expertise in these areas to have a direct positive impact in the local community.
“Through Water for Our Future, Deakin’s world-leading researchers can provide technical advice and analysis of new approaches to water management in the greater Geelong region, including helping the community understand the information in front of them.”
Background – ‘Water for our Future’ forums
The forum and the coming community forums, to run in late February and March with dates to be finalised, are significant events of phase one of Water for our Future.
Feedback provided at the forums will help inform the vision and criteria – which will reflect what people want the region to look like in the future and how a secure water supply contributes to that – that will be a foundation for the next stage of Water for our Future, which will consider specific options for future water management.
As well as at the forums, community members can share their views at www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/future by completing an online survey and adding an idea to the ‘ideas lab’.