Highly-placed sources told the Geelong Advertiser yesterday a pipe would connect the cities. About 17,000 megalitres of water would flow through the pipe each year, mixing fluoride into Geelong’s water supply.
The State Government is expected to announce the pipe project today, as well as the location of Victoria’s first desalination plant.
A spokeswoman for Premier Steve Bracks would not confirm or deny what she dubbed as “pure speculation”.
The plan to link Geelong with Melbourne’s water supply was floated in the Government’s sustainable water strategy for central Victoria.
Doing so would anger anti-fluoride campaigners who have long fought such plans.
But Committee for Geelong chairman Jim Cousins has backed any plan to connect Geelong to Melbourne’s fluoridated system.
“The debate has been going on for years but we ask the question to people who are anti-fluoride, what do they do for water when they go out of Geelong? For God’s sake, let’s get on with it,” Mr Cousins said.
“This may mean that we are actually secure for water in the future. When we are seemingly short of water, apart from building a dam, the only way to go is to interconnect and accept what that supply delivers.”
The Australian newspaper yesterday reported that the Bracks Government would announce that the site of a $1 billion-plus desalination plant would be on the Surf Coast. But Barwon Water chairman Stephen Vaughan said a desalination plant was “highly unlikely” to be built near Geelong.
“Desalination is attractive because it’s not rainfall dependent, but there are issues with cost and the environment and it’s not our preferred option to have it located in the Barwon region,” Mr Vaughan said.
South Barwon MP Michael Crutchfield also ruled out a plant along the Surf Coast.
“That would be ludicrous,” he said.
Surf Coast Shire Mayor Rose Hodge said her council had not been informed of any plans for a desalination plant.
But Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood repeated a call for the desalination plant to be at Black Rock