A Port Fairy community group was left "very disappointed" after Wannon Water pulled out of a planned event at the eleventh hour on Monday.
The Port Fairy Pipeline Supply Support Group had collected more than 2000 signatures backing its campaign to extend the Otway pipeline, which supplies Warrnambool's drinking water, a further 30 kilometres to Port Fairy.
PFPSSG founders John Konings and David McLean said they organised a formal handover with Wannon Water, with the water corporation requesting the day and time for acting managing director Ian Bail to receive the petition.
"The authority reneged at the last minute," PFPSSG said in a statement.
"It was claimed there was no person available from the authority's board of directors or the senior management group to receive this substantial submission.
"Clearly we were very disappointed by this action by the authority as we see it as being disrespectful to the community of Port Fairy, and could suggest it is symptomatic of Wannon Water failing to seriously treat the very obvious long-standing problems with Port Fairy's water quality."
A Wannon Water spokesperson said the petition had been received and would be presented to the corporation's board in August.
"We thank the Port Fairy community for their feedback," the spokesperson said.
In a detailed interview with The Standard in May, managing director Andrew Jeffers said Wannon Water was making headway in its plans to improve the taste of Port Fairy's water. He said a pipeline was one of two options on the table, but didn't agree with PFPSSG that it was clearly superior to the alternative option of building a facility to treat the town's existing ground water supply.
Mr Jeffers said both the pipeline and treatment plant options were equally likely, and the next step for Wannon Water was to determine how much money was available for the project.
PFPSSG said it didn't believe Wannon Water was seriously exploring the pipeline option.
"We had hoped that in being able to formally hand this vital community petition to the acting CEO and the authority's corporate board of directors, they would give it the status and importance it so richly deserves. And that in line at least with the principles of good corporate citizenship, the board would provide a prompt, professional and meaningful response to our community's very clear demands for action," the group said.
"Today's experience would give little confidence to this happening."
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