The next stage of a community campaign to top up Lake Colac could get the nod this week.
Colac Otway Shire Councillors will vote on Wednesday whether to continue pushing a project which would pipe recycled water from Barwon Water’s Black Rock Reclamation Plant to Colac for industry and to replenish lakes in the region.
An officer report recommends the council backs a study into the project’s cost-benefit and whether it is economically doable, and to seek external funding to sponsor this analysis, which could cost as much as $250,000.
The report also asks the council to support the plan as a shire priority project, and recommends the council reach out to Surf Coast Shire Council to seek its support for the project as well as the G21 Geelong Region Alliance to consider it as a priority project, which would boost its funding chances.
Barwon Water has said it might offer technical support but indicated the cost for the project would be expensive; with high-level estimates at $150 million to $300 million for installation, and operating costs from $4 million to $17 million annually.
The project would pump six billion litres – or six gigalitres – of recycled water to the region each year along a proposed 80-kilometre pipeline from the Surf Coast to Colac.
The report said ongoing water supply could attract big business to the region and would be a big boost to the agricultural sector, with the council in confidential talks with “a number of businesses that have shown interest”.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.