Capire’s engagement program was designed to build awareness of a new water treatment infrastructure and understand community and stakeholder sentiment.


Great Tasting Water



Wannon Water extends its operations beyond delivering water and sewerage services with a commitment to the well-being and prosperity of the region. Their vision to go ‘beyond water for strong communities’ includes a commitment to protecting public health and providing safe drinking water to customers every day. In line with this, Wannon Water identified an opportunity to deliver great tasting water to the region.

Many people in the area find the taste of tap water unpalatable because of the naturally occurring mineral salts present in the region’s groundwater. Health surveys show that community members are choosing unhealthy substitutes instead of tap water which then impacts public health outcomes related to dental health, diabetes, and obesity.  The Great Tasting Water project aims to address these challenges with the aim to build a new water treatment infrastructure.

Wannon Water partnered with Capire to design and deliver an engagement program to build awareness and support of the project and understand community and stakeholder sentiment.  The project engagement occurred in three separate stages and sought feedback from key state government and regional stakeholders, prior to engaging broadly with the community.

  • Client
    Wannon Water
  • Year Completed
  • Location
    Portland, Port Fairy and Heywood

Stage 1: Authorising environment. Seek buy-in from key Victorian Government stakeholders who could support funding of the project through alignment with key policy and project objectives.

Stage 2: Generate buy-in from regional stakeholders. Seek buy-in from regional stakeholders including major industries, primary healthcare partnerships, local businesses, and local health promotion agencies.

Stage 3: Impacted and interested communities. Inform community members about the project, understand community views and taste preferences, seek their feedback and generate support.

Engagement tools included an online survey, meetings with stakeholders, drop-in sessions, interviews, phone calls, discussions with businesses and dedicated stakeholder meetings.

Key findings indicated that almost 90 per cent of households would be more likely to drink tap water if the taste improved.

  • Households will reduce spending on appliance repair/replacement systems to provide palatable drinking water.
  • Community members will be able to fully utilise tap water in the home and the community settings.
  • Tourism and the town’s reputation will be improved.
  • Single-use plastic waste (bottled water) will be reduced.


Via a successful breadth of engagement, the community and stakeholders received an increased level of clarity on the importance of this public health intervention.

  • Community and stakeholder buy-in to the project was created.
  • Greater understanding of community preferences regarding taste and current water quality issues was gained.
  • Project delivery partnerships were identified.
  • Project communication collateral can be used for future engagement stages.

Wannon Water has incorporated the community and stakeholder feedback into a comprehensive business case that outlines the cost, benefits, drivers for change and the preferred technical solution required to improve the water quality.  The business case is also being used to attract supporting funding to enable improved water quality to be delivered in a timely way. There is strong support from key government agencies including the Department of Health.