Thursday, July 25, 2024

$6m investment flows for Tamworth water security

The Federal and NSW Governments today announced a $6 million investment to investigate water recycling in Tamworth in a bid to boost long-term water security.

Australian Water Minister, Tanya Plibersek said a regional industrial advanced water treatment plant would significantly reduce the amount of town water supply being used by the NSW region’s major commercial processing and manufacturing businesses by up to 12 megalitres a day by treating and recycling water used for industrial purposes. 

“In Tamworth, we know the four major food processors use 25% of the town’s treated water supply,” said Ms Plibersek.

“We need to look at how we can reduce the pressure on the system while supporting increasing demand. 

“This project is an innovative way we can achieve this, and one where we have listened to the local council, just as I said we would at the Bush Summit earlier this year. 

“It could see the equivalent of almost five Olympic swimming pools of water recycled every day.

“We know Australia is a dry continent with limited water supply, so looking to do more with what we have through recycling is vital,” she said.

The project will be conducted in partnership with Tamworth Regional Council, who have already completed initial groundwork via a strategic business case.

It will be funded with $3 million from the Federal Government’s National Water Grid Fund and $3 million from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. 

Separate to this initiative, the NSW Government has announced a further $3 million in the 2023-24 State Budget to deliver a strategic business case that will explore building intervalley pipelines and off-river storage to increase water supply and boost drought resilience for Tamworth.

The pipelines being considered would connect the city with Keepit or Split Rock Dams in the west and Manning Valley in the east to increase access to existing water sources, said NSW Minister for Water, Rose Jackson.

“We want every NSW community to have water security and these investigations will help to determine the best solutions for the region,” she said.

“The promise of the Dungowan Dam was an empty promise that never stacked up. 

“We are focused on a multi-pronged approach that allows us to increase water supply and security for the long-term. 

“With the region already feeling the early impacts of the declared El Nino, we have no time to waste in getting on with the job to improve Tamworth’s long-term water security.”

Work on the industrial advanced water treatment plant business case has already begun, while the timeline for the pipelines and new water storage business case is still being finalised.

Both projects are expected to take 18-24 months to complete. 

The water infrastructure options were all shortlisted in the Namoi Regional Water Strategy, which the NSW Government launched earlier this year.

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