STATE government says it’s not only making it rain for the regions - but that it will ensure the latest splash is clean and reliable when communities turn on the tap.
There’s a $500 million bucket being taken from Tuesday’s budget well to further improve regional water infrastructure in NSW – from wastewater plants, to filtration systems, drought backup systems and new and upgraded dams.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the new Safe and Secure Water Program is a $1 billion investment. Half of the funds, however, are for the 270-kilometre Murray to Broken Hill Pipeline announced a year ago, with the remainder set aside for projects that promise to improve reliability and quality of water.
Government said these projects will be prioritised using a catchment-wide framework, based on security of supply, health and infrastructure risks, and emerging issues that can impact supply and demand.
Eight shortlisted projects have been assessed under this framework so far, and will be examined by DPI Water and Infrastructure NSW to see if they get a guernsey. These include treatment plant upgrades at Bemboka, Bowraville, Junee and Kempsey, better storage at Nyngan, filtration on the Liverpool Plains, and quality assurance at Scone.
The remainder of Safe and Secure will follow an applicant-led process over several funding rounds. Eligible organisations are invited to submit expressions of interest from July 2017.
Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro said more than 500 regional NSW communities depend on access to clean, reliable and affordable water, as well as wastewater infrastructure that meets environmental and health standards. Regional Water Minister, Niall Blair encouraged regional water authorities to bring their best ideas to the table in order to get a slice of the pie.
In addition to Safe and Secure, Government has also committed $17.4 million to five projects funded from the Regional Waste Water and Backlog Water program. These include:
- $1.5m for the Scone to Murrurundi Pipeline, part of the Murrurundi Water Security Project led by Upper Hunter Shire Council.
- $0.9m to upgrade and expand the Walcha Waste Water Treatment Plant (Walcha Shire Council).
- $3.3m for a new waste water system for Ardlethan (Coolamon Shire Council).
- $8.6m for a new treatment plant and waste water treatment capacity for Bourke and North Bourke (Central Darling Shire Council)
- $3.2m for Brewarrina Shire Council to expand waste water treatment.