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Spike in growth strains Wangaratta’s water & sewer infrastructure

31 October 2021

North East Water is working with the Rural City of Wangaratta to manage the issue of accelerating population growth in Wangaratta and its impact on land development.

Executive Planning & Infrastructure Rebecca Jhonston said approvals for water and sewer connections have increased by 45% in the past 3 years.

“This increase has pushed existing water and sewer infrastructure to capacity limits”, Ms Jhonston said.

“As a result, development approvals have slowed significantly in Wangaratta’s main growth areas to protect our infrastructure and the local environment

“If we didn’t take this action, it could lead to water pressure issues and sewer spills in some areas of the city.

“Past development based on previous trends had been manageable until this most recent acceleration, which has exceeded even our highest planned growth scenario.

Ms Jhonston added, “Over the past 8 weeks, a specialised engineering firm has been engaged to explore non-traditional methods to service new residential developments in the short-term.”

“North East Water is also continuing to work through the long term plan which will see new pipes to transfer wastewater to the existing wastewater treatment plant.

“This planning reset is an opportunity for different ways of thinking in the hope development can continue as soon as possible.

“It is expected that this change to managing growth will lead to higher infrastructure contribution fees for developers and land owners.

“Together with the Rural City of Wangaratta we are working to ensure that growth is managed sustainably to reduce the impact on all customers. 

“Growth is challenging many parts of regional Victoria and we are excited to be exploring opportunities to significantly shift the approach to servicing new residential developments.”