Hunter Water will tunnel a pipeline beneath Swansea Channel as part of a $4 million project to secure the water supply for residents south of Swansea Bridge, NSW. The new second water main will ensure that more than 4,500 homes are no longer at risk of running out of water if the existing pipe breaks.
Currently the water supply of every home in Swansea, Caves Beach, Cams Wharf and Nords Wharf is reliant on a single pipe crossing Swansea Channel and running up the edges of the Swansea Bridge. If that pipe breaks, the repair time would likely be up to one week due to the difficulty of having to make the repairs under a boating Channel.
Repairing the pipe could also require shutting down bridge crossings, causing significant disruption for the hundreds of boats that move through the Channel every week.
Hunter Water Managing Director, Kim Wood, said a second pipeline will be built underground to ensure there is secondary supply in case the primary main breaks.
“If the current pipeline breaks in the underwater section at Swansea Channel, it could take a week to repair using divers and underwater equipment. Hunter Water would then have to send a pipe across Swansea Bridge during the evening to refill the reservoirs while repairs were underway.
“Although the reservoirs in Swansea and nearby suburbs are larger than most, our modelling shows some residents would run out of water within 24 hours of a break.
“To remove the risk of residents running out of water, a second pipeline will be tunnelled underground from Little Pelican to Swansea using horizontal directional drilling.
Residents will have two connections to Hunter Water’s network, essentially providing a safety net in case of a break.
Member for Swansea Garry Edwards said the second pipeline was an essential project for the region.
“With Swansea Channel the only way for boats to enter and exit Lake Macquarie, I understand it is an unusual necessity for the Swansea pipeline to run underwater. It is however an unacceptable risk to have just one pipeline delivering water to more than 4,500 homes.
“Hunter Water has listened to the people of Swansea and Caves Beach who have for years had to live with the fear of losing their water supply.
“The second pipeline will be laid using technology which allows it to run beneath the waterbed, away from potentially damaging tidal movements and salt water. This means the homes and businesses south of Swansea Bridge will have a stable supply that’s less prone to breaking in the elements,” he said.
The Swansea Supply Project is currently in its design phase and will be completed by 2017.