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2021 Core Values Awards Winner | Community Development

IAP2 Australasia Core Values Awards Case study

Meters gained – Barwon Water partners with Birregurra community | Barwon Water

Barwon Water (Barwon Region Water Corporation) is Victoria’s largest regional urban water corporation. The corporation has a proud history of supporting regional prosperity by providing excellence in water, sewerage and recycled water services to customers and the community for more than 110 years.

Highlights at a glance

  • Barwon Water has taken a unique (and its first ever) place-based approach to sustainable water use by partnering with the Birregurra community to focus on behaviour change, leak detection and repair, water efficiency measures and opportunities to use more recycled water.
  • The project was large in part community led, the Birregurra community approached Barwon Water to see how Barwon Water could help them to create a sustainable community. From then on, Barwon Water directly engaged with the community of Birregurra to challenge them to reduce their water consumption during summer.
  • All properties in Birregurra had their water meters replaced with digital water meters (400 in total) and we worked with the community to make best use of the information provided by the new technology and offered customers the support they needed to save water.
  • The project was at the Involve level of the IAP2 Spectrum. We worked directly with the community to ensure their aspirations for water saving were considered, they were included in the solutions provided, and could clearly see the outcomes as a result. Furthermore, we harnessed local knowledge to identify other opportunities and leverage support for increased sustainable water use.

There were three primary objectives of the project:

  • Understand the Birregurra community’s drinking water consumption patterns during summer and involve the community to change their behaviour to use water more sustainably.
  • Encourage collaboration and participation in the sustainable communities’ program by setting up a voluntary Water Savers group to actively monitor their water usage as well as sharing action/learning opportunities to support behaviour change.
  • Use technology as an enabler to drive behaviour change, increase sustainable water use and ultimately save water through fixing leaks.