August 29, 2023

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is reviewing the waterway rules for the Barwon River through Geelong stretching from Orana Road to the Lower Breakwater (just upstream of Lake Connewarre).

The Corangamite CMA identified a need to review the waterway rules for the Barwon River following Barwon Water’s planned removal of four spans of the Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct in Breakwater. The removal of the spans opens the opportunity for the public to access the lower part of the river for the first time in many years as this has been an exclusion zone for safety reasons.

As the existing river rules have not been reviewed since 1991 (32 years), the renewed access to the river around the sewer aqueduct provides the Corangamite CMA the opportunity to review the waterway rules, not just for the lower part of the river, but for the entire stretch from Orana Road to the Lower Breakwater.

Geelong is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia with the Northern, Western and Armstrong Creek Growth Areas combined projected to ultimately provide approximately 60,000 new homes and over 160,000 new residents. 

With population growth comes greater demand for access to the river for recreation and enjoyment of nature with the number and variety of river users likely to significantly increase.

Waterway rules are designed to provide a safe operating environment, to cater for a wide range of boating and water activities, to separate different activities where needed based on safety, and to reflect local conditions.

Any changes to the rules will be based on the following principles:

  • Managing vessel activities and movement, moorings and berthing locations, and navigational aids that identify regulations and hazards, anchorage and dredging areas
  • Minimising the risk of environmental damage from the operation of vessels
  • Allowing for the safety and equity of on-water use on the Barwon River for a broad range of users
  • Cultural Heritage management and consideration
  • Ensuring compatibility of waterway use with surrounding land

The Corangamite CMA is currently in consultation with the main user groups of the Barwon River and key agency stakeholders including the Geelong Water Ski Club, Geelong Canoe Club, Association of Geelong and District Angling Clubs Inc, Barwon Valley Water Ski Club, Geelong Rowing Association Inc, Geelong Cross Country Club, Geelong Field Naturalist Club, Geelong Dragon Boat Club and the Geelong Outrigger Canoe Club. The public will be asked for its feedback on the draft river rules later this year.

No decisions about the rules, including the times that stakeholders have access to the river, will be made while this targeted consultation is underway and until the public has provided feedback.

Corangamite CMA’s General Manager Community and Catchment Services Sarah Holland Clift said, “Targeted consultation is still underway, and we have further meetings scheduled with user groups”.  

“The aim of any rule changes is to foster greater inclusivity and safety for all on-water users, enabling a broader range of individuals to enjoy the Barwon River,” continued Ms Holland Clift.

After the consultation period, the draft river rules will be publicly displayed for four weeks to gather feedback from the community.

 “Through the public consultation process, we aim to consider the perspectives of all river users and establish new rules that accommodate a wide range of recreational activities,” Ms Holland Clift said.


Contact Us

Colac Office

64 Dennis Street, Colac VIC 3250
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

T: 1800 002 262

Geelong office

Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
All mail must be sent via our Colac office
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250

T: 1800 002 262