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New Coliban Water MD sets out key priorities

Coliban Water’s new Managing Director Damian Wells has started with the utility following a mountain biking accident that left him with a fractured neck.

Wells, who had to delay his start by two months following the accident, said his key focus will be the implementation of Coliban’s Strategy 2030.

This aims to ensure the utility and its region in north central Victoria is ahead of the curve in adapting to climate change.

“I am confident in Coliban Water’s ability to rise to the climate adaptation challenge so we can continue to enjoy the incredible liveability of our wonderful region,” Wells said.

“We will innovate and change to ensure we continue to deliver services that underpin the region’s prosperity, while our population continues to grow and the climate becomes hotter and drier, resulting in reduced inflows to our water storages.”

This includes upgrading the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant, which treats wastewater from about 3800 residential, business and trade waste customers. 

Phase one works were announced last week and will include installing additional aerators in the facility’s lagoons to enable oxygen to circulate and increase the treatment capacity.

The next steps will include adding more storage lagoons and increasing irrigation, with the aim of improving the treatment process and only discharging high-quality tertiary water to the Campaspe River.

“The delivery of the Kyneton Solutions Project will be a key focus of mine,” Wells said.

“With the Coliban Water team, I will engage with landowners, stakeholders and the broader Kyneton community as we work to improve the trade waste and domestic treatment processes at the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant to continue to service the growing region and help protect the health of the Campaspe River.”

Wells joined Coliban Water after nearly five years at the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA), most recently as Executive Director – Regulatory Capability, Engagement and Legal Services.

He is still recovering from the bike accident, but said he is looking forward to getting started in the new job.

“I have a lot of rehabilitation work ahead following the removal of the halo device that was installed to enable the fracture to heal, but I am feeling good and very excited about starting this critical leadership role for our community,” Well said.

“The support of my family, Coliban Water Chair Lucy Roffey, the Board, executive and staff of Coliban Water, as well as my previous colleagues at EPA Victoria has been incredible.”