Hunter Water’s Chichester Trunk Gravity Main (CTGM) (NSW) has now been successfully repaired after the main suffered catastrophic storm damage in April.
Reservoirs including those in Maitland, Dungog, Clarence Town, Wallsend and Paterson are now to be progressively brought back online.
A 50metre section of the pipe was washed away in floodwater near Seaham, and another section compromised and undermined when supports were knocked out by the Myall Creek flood that ripped through Dungog.
Hunter Water had to shut the pipeline off at Chichester Dam to make the repairs, meaning many local reservoirs have until now been filled several times daily by water tankers carrying 10,000 litres each.
The flood damage meant there have been 119 properties unable to draw water from the CTGM, with Hunter Water supplying pallets of bottled water for properties that didn’t have onsite water tanks.
Hunter Water Managing Director, Kim Wood, said the impact of the Super Storm on Hunter Water’s operations was unprecedented.
“Not even in the 1955 Maitland Flood did Hunter Water’s CTGM suffer the damage it did in the April Super Storm.
“As soon as floodwater receded, Hunter Water crews were able to assess the damage to the pipe and begin repairs. For the massive break near Seaham, this involved manufacturing over 20 metres of watermain and pouring tonnes of concrete to fill holes caused by the flood.
“The total cost of the storm is likely to exceed $3 million date with around 6,000 man hours worked. The Hunter Water crews have been labouring day and night through at times atrocious conditions to get the water supply returned to our customers.
“Hunter Water has delivered over 50,000 bottles of water to customers since the storms hit, including a number of home deliveries for elderly and incapacitated customers,” he said.
Seaham Public School Principal Craig Partridge said 4,000 bottles of drinking water were delivered to his school as a local pick up point.
“There have been a large number of local families that had no water or very low pressure since the storms, so the bottled water has been very popular. People have been steadily coming in every day to take what they need and it’s quite extraordinary to see all the bottles gone given how many Hunter Water provided us with,” he said.
Built in the 1920s, the CTGM runs for over 70 kilometres to deliver water from Chichester Dam through to Lambton.
Since the storms Grahamstown Dam has delivered almost 100 percent of the Hunter’s water through a process of rezoning, where pipe valves are opened and closed to push water to different sections of the network.