Warrnambool Roof Water Harvesting Initiative


The Warrnambool Roof Water Harvesting Initiative is a leading example of integrated water management. The project ‘taps’ a new water catchment by capturing water from roofs that would otherwise be lost in run-off, supporting more liveable and sustainable cities. Wannon Water is very proud of this innovative scheme, a first in Australia.

Roof Water Harvesting refers to rain water being collected from rooftops in new residential or Industrial subdivisions and transported through pipes to an existing raw water storage. The water is then treated at the Water Treatment Plant and becomes part of the drinking water supply.

The project

The initiative began in 2011 with the pilot applied to 250 lots across two subdivisions. It has progressively expanded and now includes industrial sheds at the Gateway Business Park in Horne Road.

In an average year, the system harvests all the annual water needs of the properties it is connected to.

Another 580 future houses can now be included in the initiative thanks to a 500-metre extension of the main pipeline. The pipeline was extended from north of Kings College to Wangoom Road in February 2019 ,and a 150,000-litre detention storage tank installed to manage peak flows from the new North Ridge Estate.

Future growth

This system is progressively being expanded as development occurs in Warrnambool’s main north-east growth corridor over the next 30 years.

The roofs of some 3,000 new homes will eventually form an urban catchment that is expected to contribute 471 million litres of water each year into the Brierly Basin and then treated at the Warrnambool Water Treatment Plant for urban drinking water.


Most recently in May 2018 the Wannon Water ‘Warrnambool Roof Water Harvesting Initiative’ was a finalist in the ‘Infrastructure Project Innovation Award’ at the 2018 Australian Water Awards and won the same category in December 2017 at the Australian Water Association’s Victorian Water Awards.

Fs17 12 0130 27196685849 O

Picture courtesy of the Australian Water Association. 

Wannon Water's innovation capabilities were previously recognised at a national level, with the mastermind of the visionary Roof Water Harvesting Initiative, Peter Wilson, winning the Australian Achiever category of the 2011 savewater! awards. The project also received a High Commendation at the AWA 2012 Victorian Water Awards.

Tool kit

A Roof Water Harvesting tool kit has also been developed to assist other growth regions identify how they can use the same approach.

The tool kit helps assess the financial viability of similar systems within Australia and allows quick comparisons with other potential water supply sources. By entering a number of key parameters, it allows a roof water harvesting system to be defined in terms of the collection system, transfer pipelines, storage basins and a treatment plant.

To request a tool kit be mailed to you, please complete the Toolkit request form.