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Bendigo groundwater management

The Bendigo Groundwater project seeks to

  • prevent mine impacted groundwater discharge from mine shafts into Bendigo’s waterways
  • support Bendigo Heritage Attractions to continue to operate underground tours at the Central Deborah Gold Mine
  • develop long-term sustainable water management approaches to manage mine-impacted groundwater in mine voids beneath central Bendigo.

The Bendigo Groundwater project is being delivered in 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 - an immediate solution. Implemented immediately, operated until 31 September 2017 and now complete.
  • Phase 2 - an interim solution. Operational by 31 September 2017 and to be in place until the commencement of a long-term solution.
  • Phase 3 - a long-term solution. Operational for a 10 to 30 year timeframe.

Environmental contribution 5 (EC5)

Program title 2020-21 expenditure ($'000) 2021–22
expenditure ($'000)
Bendigo groundwater management 500 3,000

Delivering a sustainable solution for Bendigo’s Central Deborah historic mine workings and Bendigo Creek


Summary of progress to date

Concept design and business case

A concept design and business case for a long-term solution was completed in 2021/22, resulting in government support and funding of a long-term management approach for this issue.

The proposed approach was developed in consultation with key stakeholders and includes the construction of a new purpose-built water treatment plant and associated infrastructure. The approach focuses on removing odours and contaminants from the water and reducing movement of water through underground workings.

Central Deborah Gold Mine

Consultation with operators of the Central Deborah Gold Mine following review of operating arrangements identified that there was an opportunity to improve the current management approach, to improve long-term water quality and focus on the key tourist attractions by altering mine-impacted water management from 260m below the surface to 130m.

The change will occur in 2022-23 and will inform long-term solution design.

Business case development

The State and Local Government Advisory Group consisting of the City of Greater Bendigo, DJAARA, North Central CMA, Goulburn Murray Water, Coliban Water, Bendigo Heritage Attractions, DELWP Loddon Mallee, Earth Resources Regulation (DJPR), Regional Development Victoria (DJPR) and EPA (observer) were heavily engaged in the business case development.

The long-term solution is anticipated to take 3 years to design and construct. During this time, mine-impacted water will continue to be managed under interim arrangements, preventing new discharges and amenity impacts to Bendigo’s CBD.

Page last updated: 16/09/23