Draft strategy for Living Ballarat water-saving project due in May

BALLARAT residents will get to have their say on the best water-saving measures in the city once a draft strategy is released in late May as part of the Living Ballarat project. 

The $1 million project, which looks at how best to use and retain stormwater in an urban environment, has previously been criticised for showing little results over the long period it has been running. 

Living Ballarat control board chairman Dr Mark Harris said a lot of the work on the project had been completed and there was  a greater understanding now of Ballarat’s water system.

Dr Harris admitted it had been frustrating to see how long the project had taken to produce results, however he stressed it was important to take the time and ensure things were done properly.

“The reality is, in public service terms, it sounds like a long time but we needed to do it right; we can’t hurry some of this science,” he said. 

The Living Ballarat project has been running since April last year and is expected to be used as a pilot program for other parts of the state. 

“We are ahead of the pack here and we will reap the benefits and be ready for drier times in the future,” Mr Harris said. 

Minister for Water Peter Walsh visited Ballarat yesterday to make the announcement and also unveil a Right Water house at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. 

“Ballarat has been a city that has been particularly water conscious since the drought,” he said. 

“There has been some criticism with how long it (the Living Ballarat project) has taken but it is important to get the research done and get the building blocks for what will be a great outcome for the City of Ballarat.

“We would like to have seen it done quicker but you need to get it right.”

The house is a hands-on model showing how to use water around the garden and home and will be on display until April 27.

Residents can visit the Living Victoria website to register interest in draft strategy consultation.