Tarra River Flow Fluctuation – Update

Monday, February 11th, 2019


Water Supply by Agreement

  • A number of customers in the Tarra Valley, outside of the Devon North reticulated supply system, have a Water Supply Agreement with the South Gippsland Water that provides them with access to untreated water from the Corporation’s supply from the Tarra River.
  • As per the agreement, the quality, pressure and/or continuity of supply associated with this water source cannot be guaranteed by South Gippsland Water.
  • The Tarra River Bulk Entitlement Licence requires 3ML per day of passing environmental flows. When river flow drops below this, South Gippsland Water, legally, must stop extracting water from the river.
  • Therefore, provision of water to these customers must cease when the river flow drops below 3ML/day.
  • Customers below the Devon North Water Treatment Plant (Yarram, Devon North, Alberton and Port Albert) are not impacted upon as their water supply is supplemented by South Gippsland Water from a local bore. This water is treated to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.


  • In previous years, and again this year, the Corporation’s customer service team contacted Water Supply Agreement customers via personal phone calls and written correspondence to make them aware of this situation and the potential for water supply from the Tarra River to cease and to enable them to prepare alternate arrangements.
  • South Gippsland Water has kept customers informed of river flows via signs placed on the Water Treatment Plant gate and South Gippsland Water’s alerts page on the Corporation’s website www.sgwater.com.au/alerts and information issued to local newspapers.

Fluctuating Flows

  • Over the Australia Day long weekend, river flows dropped below 3ML per day and, as a result, South Gippsland Water ceased extraction from the Tarra River on the afternoon of Wednesday 30th January 2019.
  • South Gippsland Water endeavoured to contact all Water Supply Agreement customers and messages were left for those customers who could not be directly informed on the day. The Corporation will continue to keep customers informed via signage at the Devon North Water Treatment Plant and on the Corporation’s website www.sgwater.com.au/alerts.
  • Tarra River flows are fluctuating following cooler weather and rainfall in the catchment. As a result, South Gippsland Water re-charged the supply main on 6 February 2019 in order to extract water from the Tarra River, however, extraction had to cease again on 9 February 2019.
  • South Gippsland Water will resume extraction when river flow increases to appropriate levels. Given the weather-dependent fluctuation in river flow, South Gippsland Water does not know if/when it may resume extraction again.
  • It takes South Gippsland Water at least 24 hours to re-charge the main and bleed air from the drawn down pipeline. As ‘Supply by Agreement’ customers – water supply and quality is not guaranteed. The process of turning on/off supply and recharging the main is likely to result in lower water quality.
  • Given the time it takes to re-charge the main (>24 hours), South Gippsland Water will take water when flows legally allow, however if this is only a short period of time, it may not charge the full length of the water main/reach all customers.
  • Over the summer period, Water Supply Agreement customers are encouraged to plan for fluctuations in water pressure and quality, and the event of supply ceasing, by ensuring their own alternate water supply is prepared and ready to go when needed.

Additional Communication

  • Those Water Supply Agreement customers requiring additional communication regarding the supply of water from the Tarra River should contact the Customer Service Team on 5682 0444.