- 70km pipe
- Connects to our fourth biggest reservoir
- Currently on standby to be used in the case of critical human need
The Nth-Sth Pipeline (formerly Sugarloaf Pipeline) was connected to Melbourne in February 2010.
The pipeline is not currently in operation will only be used in the case of critical human need.
- Where the water comes from
- Where the water goes
- When the water gets used
- Audits and reporting
- Boosts to our supply system
- Renewable energy use
- Building the pipeline
Where the water comes from
Water is stored in Eildon Reservoir and released into the Goulburn River where it is then pumped into the pipeline and sent 70km to Melbourne.
Where the water goes
Water from the pipe flows into Sugarloaf Reservoir. Here it mixes with water from the Maroondah and Yarra catchments (also stored in this reservoir).
All water from Sugarloaf Reservoir passes through Winneke Treatment Plant, to make sure it meets all quality standards.
Treated water is fed to smaller service reservoirs across Melbourne (central, northern, western, eastern and some parts of the south eastern suburbs).
When the water gets used
As per the Victorian Government’s operating rules for the pipeline, the water stored in Lake Eildon for Melbourne may only be used in times of critical human need, which is defined as when the volume of water in Melbourne’s 10 dams is less than 30% of total capacity at 30 November each year.
The Lake Eildon allocation is reported as Melbourne’s ‘critical water reserve’ and currently totals 61,936 ML (as at 13 February 2013).
NB: Any changes to the critical water reserve volume will be reported based on advice from Goulburn Murray Water who manage water allocations in Lake Eildon, This volume includes any water that may be temporarily quarantined in a ‘spillable water account’.
Audits and reporting
Each year, we provide a report to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities on our compliance with their conditions on the project. These conditions relate to making sure that the project does not have significant impacts on species (including fish, insects and plants) listed as threatened under the Act, and include monitoring the amount of water we take via the Goulburn River.
By agreement with the Department, the annual reporting timeline has been adjusted to match completion timelines for independent annual audits on water allocations and transfers via the pipeline. Our 2012 annual report is available here:
- Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 725kb)
- Appendix A - Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 2.4mb)
- Appendix B - Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 3.9mb)
- Appendix C - Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 1.8mb)
- Appendix D - Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 1.4mb)
- Appendix E - Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 5.1mb)
- Appendix F - Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 3.2mb)
For more information, please contact Andrea Burns, Environmental Officer, on (03) 9679 7733.
Previous annual reports are available on the Environmental Management page.
Boosts to the system
Two important upgrades to Melbourne’s water supply system were completed at the same time as the pipeline.
- Upgrade to Winneke Treatment Plant – included a capacity increase to around 170 billion litres p.a. to deal with more water flowing into Sugarloaf Reservoir. Filters, tanks and pumps also upgraded. Project cost: $50 million.
- New pump station at Preston – addition of new pump house at Melbourne Water’s existing supply hub, so water from Sugarloaf Reservoir (plus Cardinia and Yan Yean) can be distributed more widely across Melbourne. Project cost: $20 million.
These two projects boost the supply capacity and supply footprint of Sugarloaf Reservoir, independent of the pipeline. That means more flexibility in how we manage the system and the ability to reduce demand on other reservoirs, including Thomson.
Both project costs were part of the overall $750 million budget for the pipeline project.
Renewable energy use
Most of Melbourne’s water is moved around via gravity. It saves energy, emissions and costs.
Delivering more water to fill gaps that climate change has put in dam levels now means parts of the system are using more energy.
At the same time, we’re conscious of the broader need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
All energy used by the Nth-Sth Pipeline is supplied from renewable sources. A hydro plant has also been built to generate energy as water from the pipeline enters Sugarloaf Reservoir.
This is part of our target to reduce our net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2018.
Building the pipeline
The pipeline was designed and built by the Sugarloaf Pipeline Alliance - made up of Melbourne Water, John Holland, SKM and GHD. More detail about the project, including design and compliance documents, can be found on the following pages:
- Planning and Approval
- Project Impact Assessment Report
- Project Impact Assessment Submissions
- Environmental Management
- Regional Benefits Grants Program
- Fact Sheets