The New South Wales Government has announced that construction is now complete on a $55 million pipeline connecting the Calala Water Treatment Plant in Tamworth to the Dungowan Showgrounds, expected to save up to 2.2ML of water per day.

The State and Federal Governments jointly funded the project, helping drought-proof local water supplies by improving the reliability and efficiency of the region’s water infrastructure.

The State Government said the pipeline is an example of how upgrading water networks can make a big difference in helping to improve the sustainability of water supplies.

The new pipeline replaced leaking 70-year-old infrastructure that was in such poor condition that Tamworth Council was spending significant amounts on band-aid solutions to try and stem water losses every year. 

The 21km pipeline connects into an existing pipeline at the Dungowan Showgrounds, enabling the transfer of 22ML of untreated water each day from the Dungowan Dam to the Calala Water Treatment Plant for residential and commercial use.

The pipeline is also joined to the Chaffey Dam pipeline that was completed in 2020 to transfer water to Tamworth during drought emergencies when supplies hit rock bottom.

Built by MPC Kinetic, the government said the Dungowan pipeline has also benefited the community by creating local jobs and contributing $6 million to the local economy during design and construction.

The infrastructure is currently undergoing testing, which will be finished in September 2023 along with final connections before it will be handed over to the Council to own and operate.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, said, “We know the next drought is around the corner, and we’re committed to making sure regional communities have safe and reliable water.

“That’s why we’re investing in projects like this pipeline. This project replaced infrastructure that was leaking almost as much water as an Olympic swimming pool each day. It was bad for the community, the environment, and the local economy. We’re ensuring the Tamworth community has the water they need, and supporting local jobs and businesses.” 

New South Wales Minister for Water, Rose Jackson, said, “It is clear that the previous New South Wales Government took their eye off the ball when it comes to regional town water security. As Minister for Water, I have asked my department to continue to work closely with Council on finding the best way forward to help boost drought resilience. 

“This includes looking at a range of infrastructure and non-infrastructure options including new intervalley pipelines, off-river storage, advanced water treatment plants, water efficiency and demand management options including fixing leaking pipes such as Dungowan.

“It is important our regional water supply networks keep pace with urban growth to allow places like Tamworth to grow and thrive long into the future.”  

Tamworth Mayor, Russell Webb, said, “Tamworth Regional Council is looking forward to the commissioning of the new Dungowan Pipeline in the coming months. The new pipeline is a great start towards water security for the Tamworth region and we look forward to working with both the State and Federal Government on further options to help us face the challenges of the next dry period.”

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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