The NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments’ plans to deliver greater water security to communities in Tamworth and the Peel Valley have reached a significant milestone with the announcement of a preferred route for the proposed new Dungowan Dam pipeline.
Running south of Dungowan Creek and the Peel River from the new Dungowan Dam to Tamworth Regional Council’s Calala Water Treatment Plant, the preferred route has been identified following months of extensive studies, assessments and technical investigations.
The pipeline will be built in two stages, with Stage 1 establishing a new reliable connection from the recently completed Chaffey Dam pipeline to Tamworth’s town water supply. Stage 2 will be built in conjunction with the proposed new Dungowan Dam pending the outcomes of a final business case and Environmental Impact Statement.
NSW Nationals Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the project will bring great benefits to the local community.
“In addition to the obvious benefits to water security, this project will provide much-needed employment and a boost to the local economy as it continues to recover from the impact of drought and COVID-19,” Mrs Pavey said.
“With more than 230 local businesses already registering to be part of the project’s register, the people of Tamworth and the Peel Valley can expect to see more and more contracts awarded to local goods and services providers during the months to come.”
Security for locals
NSW Nationals Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the Tamworth community and farming families along the Peel River have just experienced one of the most severe droughts on record.
“I want to ensure that when future droughts hit, the Peel Valley is better prepared and more resilient,” Mr Joyce said.
“Great effort is being expended to ensure we can minimise impacts on waterways and threatened ecological areas, asphalt roads, residential homes and known heritage sites.
“A key part of this process is undertaking genuine and sincere engagement with local landholders likely to be impacted by the pipeline passing through their land.
“The NSW Nationals in the state government reached out to each landowner potentially affected by the project to discuss any concerns they may have about its impact on their property and discussions regarding potential compensation or mitigation measures are underway.
“With the permission of landholders, on-site investigations and surveys can commence which will bring greater certainty to an ultimate decision on the final route for the pipeline.”
NSW Nationals Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said we need to be smarter about water in our region.
“This project is a great example of our continued commitment to providing water security not only for the city of Tamworth, but for our farmers, our aquifers, and our environment,” Mr Anderson said.
“Every step closer we get to delivering Dungowan Dam is a win for our community so I’m happy to see us getting on with it.”
Getting on with the job
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said the announcement of the preferred route was an important step towards building the infrastructure required to deliver better drought resilience to these communities.
“Moving ahead with planning and construction for Stage 1 of this new pipeline reinforces our commitment to water security for the people and businesses of Tamworth,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Our government is getting on with the job of building the water infrastructure of the 21st century through a 10-year rolling program of priority investments, including expanding our National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to $3.5 billion in the 2020–21 Federal Budget.
“This is all about increasing water security to build greater resilience in our regions as we create more jobs and see continued growth in our agriculture sector, while supporting and investing in regional communities through drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19.”
The final business case for the proposed Dungowan Dam is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
Local businesses interested in providing support to the Dungowan Dam project are encouraged to register their interest via the WaterNSW website https://www.waternsw.com.au/projects/new-dams-for-nsw/dungowan-dam