Our history

1860-1900 | 1900-1950 | 1950-2000 | 2000 > 



1860 - 1870s

Hamilton's first dam built on the site bounded by King, McArthur and Ansett Streets. The water was not reticulated and the site has since been filled in.

1876 - 1893

Warrnambool's water sourced from groundwater well in Albert Park. The 45-kilolitre well supplied homes at the top end of Japan and Kelp Streets. A second well near the War Memorial consisted of a holding tank that supplied Timor and the southern end of Liebig Street. Water was distributed to households via horse and cart.


Old Reservoir in Hamilton (capacity of 125 million litres) was situated in North Boundary Road with water reticulated to what is now the central business district and adjacent blocks.


Warrnambool's first reticulated water system constructed. Water was pumped from the Merri River to a basin and tower in Liebig Street. The Merri serviced Warrnambool until 1939. The Liebig Street basin and tower is still active today.


Old Reservoir was enlarged with an additional smaller dam built above it.


Four Mile Creek (later called Waterworks Creek and now Headworks Creek) system designed, comprising a feeder main from the reticulation to a new 4.5 million-litre service basin. A 21-mile main connecting the basin to Headworks Creek was proposed to cross the Wannon River on a timber trestle bridge and operate by gravity.


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The Four Mile Creek system completed as designed in 1898.


The existing 66 million-litre Number One service basin constructed in Hamilton.


Gap Creek added to the Hamilton water supply.

1928 - 1935

The mains from Hamilton to Headworks creek duplicated in 250mm wood stave and concrete pipes.


The 66 million-litre Number Two service basin designed on the original service basin site. The basin was built in approximately 1930.


Warrnambool began search for new water supply because water from the Merri River was too hard for household and industrial purposes. Arkins Creek in the Otway Ranges selected as the site for a new water scheme. The 114 km Otway Main Pipeline, or North Otway Pipeline, was constructed to supply Warrnambool and enabled other towns along its route (Camperdown, Terang, Cobden), to share the supply. As the region's population grew, it became evident that an alternative supply would be needed to meet its needs.


An extension of Victoria's electricity grid to Port Fairy provided power for a pumping station to provide residents with water from the Aringa Reservoir, north of the township. This system provided Port Fairy's water until 1970.


Browns Creeks were added to the Hamilton system via a 200mm wood stave main.


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Hartwich's Reservoir (380 million litres) built.


The Number One creek was added to the Hamilton system.

Pump station constructed at Carlisle to supplement the Arkins Creek supply. System enhancements in the 1960s included the enlarged storages, new booster pump stations and pipe duplications until further development was no longer economically viable.


Number Two, Two (a) and Three streams added to the Hamilton system.


Otway system extended to serve Noorat and Glenormiston, which at that time had major dairy factories requiring a secure water supply.


Due to development at Heytesbury and construction of a major dairy factory, Simpson was connected to the Otway system.


Bulawin Bore commissioned and operated during the 1967/68 drought in the Hamilton region.


Cruckoor Reservoir (990 million litres) constructed.


Construction began on the new South Otway Pipeline to harvest water from the lower reaches of the Gellibrand River.

Cavendish supplied from Main Line at Dunkeld/Cavendish Road.


Cavendish Reservoir commissioned.


Tarrington begins supply from the Hamilton reticulation system in Petschels Lane.

Otway system extended to supply Derrinallum and Lismore, which previously relied on water from springs.


South Otway Pipeline completed, supplying 80% of Warrnambool's water and allowing more towns to be linked to the original main pipeline.

Late 1970s

Portland's major infrastructure in place, including Bald Hill's One and Two pumping stations and the Wyatt Street Reserve.


Bullawin Bore recommissioned and operated during the 1982/83 drought in the Hamilton region.


Headworks Bore commissioned and operated for the remainder of the Hamilton drought.


Purnim connected to the Otway sytem when new pipeline was constructed to supply the Framlingham Aboriginal community.

Henty Park pumping station in Portland established to provide a back-up to guarantee industry water supply.

Water treatment plant built to ensure Warrnambool's water met world health standards. The design reduces water turbidity caused by small clay fragments from run-off in the Otways, treats discolouration through a conventional coagulation-sedimentation-filtration process and protects against potential bacteria and viruses using chlorine.


Hayes Reservoir commissioned (1,200 million litres).


Glenelg Region Water, Portland Coast Water and South West Water formed.

Macarthur water supply commissioned.


A staged ozone treatment process was implemented at Port Fairy.


Pierrepoint Reservoir commissioned.

Hamilton clear water storage commissioned.


Camperdown region treatment system commissioned.

Koroit connected to Warrnambool water supply system.


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2000 >


Terang region treatment system commissioned.

Cobden treatment system commissioned.

Port Campbell treatment system commissioned. Timboon and Peterborough connected to Port Campbell supply system.

Stage two of the Port Fairy Water Treatment Plant completed.


Mortlake connected to Terang region system.


Glenelg, Portland Coast and South West Water merge to form Wannon Water.


Simpson Water Treatment Plant opened.

Drought relief bores commissioned to augment Hamilton water supply.


Balmoral Water Treatment Plant opened.

Dartmoor water supply scheme opened.


Warrnambool's Dales Road water storage duplicated, increasing storage capacity by 300 million litres.


Coleraine connected to the Tullich bore system via the Casterton-Coleraine Pipeline.


52 km Hamilton-Grampians Pipeline completed, augmenting Hamilton water supply system.


Visionary Warrnambool Roof Water Harvesting Project commissioned, augmenting water supply with rainfall from household roofs in a new urban growth corridor.