While some areas are currently drenched, long-term water security continues to be an ongoing issue for many communities across NSW, especially those out west still stricken by drought. Seven of the 63 motions put to our recent Annual General Conference were water-related, showing these is a dire need to continue the conversation. And then, Government followed suit this week making a number of exciting announcements in the 2015-16 NSW Budget.
Budget figures show more than half a billion dollars will be invested into water infrastructure - an unprecedented win for water security. Below are the fast facts and figures:
- $127.4 million to water security for regions in expenditure commitments. This includes 16 local infrastructure projects and an initial $52.3 million to secure emergency water supplies from Broken Hill as part of Restart NSW.
- $110 million has been reserved to clear Labor's backlog of Country Town Water Supply in 71 communities across NSW. Funding will be allocated to individual projects once they have been further developed and subject to assurance processes, including final business case approval.
- $186 million to assist eligible NSW households with the financial costs related to their drinking water
- $130 million for water saving infrastructure projects, funded by the Commonwealth under its Water for the Future program, to assist in bridging the gap to the Basin Plan
- $38 million to secure long-term potable water supplies and manage effluent effectively in regional communities
- $400,000 to implement further water reform initiatives in the Murray Darling Basin