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New Goulburn Valley Water plan strikes a balance

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Goulburn Valley Water, GVW, has unveiled a new five-year plan that includes a major upgrade to the Broadford Water Treatment Plant.

The Essential Service Commission, an independent regulator, issued its final decision on GVW’s Price Submission 2023-28 late last month, which came into effect from July 1.

GVW managing director Steve Capewell said changes in the price submission would mean average annual bills for owner-occupiers would increase by $63 for 2023-24 in line with inflation rates. This will be followed by an increase of an average 0.6 per cent in 2024-25 and then one per cent for the three years after – excluding inflation costs.

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“The impacts of inflation are affecting the costs of delivering water and wastewater services, like many other industries, but we’re working hard to find efficiencies to keep bill costs as low as possible,” Dr Capewell said.

The plan outlines a capital expenditure program that will help renew and improve critical infrastructure, as well as adapt to a changing climate.

A range of projects will get underway, including a significant upgrade to the Broadford Water Treatment Plant to support continuing high growth in GVW’s southern corridor around Kilmore, as well as improving the response to increasing risks of blue-green algae blooms.

Dr Capewell said the upgrade was expected to double the capacity of the Broadford Water Treatment Plant, in line with the forecast increase in water demand expectations.

“Major works for the first stage of the upgrade are planned to be carried out in the second half of our five-year plan period, which will involve constructing a new 4.5 megalitre high efficiency filtration system, followed by a second stage to replace the plant’s existing 4.5 megalitre treatment system with a second new filtration system,” he said.

“We’re currently completing pre-works at the plant to upgrade all of our electrical infrastructure, before we start construction on the first of our new 4.5 megalitre Dissolved Air Floatation and Filtration treatment plants.”

Mr Capewell said the five-year plan had been significantly shaped by what customers identified as important.

“At the heart of our plan is the voice of our customers – we engaged heavily with them over the past two years to create a plan that genuinely reflected what they wanted to see, at the lowest possible prices,” he said.

“We heard from more than 3200 people during the plan’s development, and I’d like to thank everyone, including our customer panel participating in our first ever deliberative forum, for their commitment, input and involvement.”

The new plan is centered on four key promises, which are to provide reliable water and wastewater services; lead action and partner with communities to grow; care for the environment and prepare for climate variability; and deliver respectful and responsive customer service.

Dr Capewell said a big part of the new plan was sustainability and was proud to have developed a plan that is set to cater for future generations.

“In the next five years, we also plan to start construction on a large-scale solar project, which will help us meet our goals to source all of our energy from renewable sources by 2025,” he said.

“We’ll also continue to build on the work we’re doing in creating more opportunities to use treated, recycled water in more spaces to help create a more sustainable water future.”

For more information, including price details for 2023-24, visit www.gvwater.vic.gov.au.

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