NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has announced the discovery of a number of important early heritage items at Prospect Reservoir, as a multimillion-dollar water supply upgrade begins.

Ms Hodgkinson said work on a $13.7 million contract to upgrade the Prospect Reservoir – part of Sydney’s historic Upper Nepean water supply system – has begun.

“A number of previously submerged heritage items were recently discovered by Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) staff at Prospect Reservoir when the level of the storage was temporarily lowered to allow for work to begin on the upgrade,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The find is timely, as it coincides with the 125th anniversary of the Upper Nepean system – of which Prospect Reservoir is the centrepiece.

“Early investigations suggest the find is part of an early estate in the area and that the items found date back to before the reservoir was completed in 1888.”

Ms Hodgkinson said among the possible owners of the estate is William Lawson, who is famed for his part in the first recognised European crossing of the Blue Mountains 200 years ago, in 1813.

“Given the age of the items, there are several people to whom they may have belonged,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The SCA will continue investigations during coming weeks to find out as much as they can about the items and determine who the most likely owner is.”

Ms Hodgkinson said the program of works represents one of the most significant upgrades to Prospect Reservoir since the Upper Nepean system was completed in 1888.

“Prospect Reservoir is an important part of Sydney’s water supply and the upgrade will ensure the people of Sydney continue to enjoy a reliable and secure water supply,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The program of works includes reshaping work along the crest and to the downstream face of the dam wall. This upgrade will ensure the dam meets the highest standards of safety and continues to provide flexibility for Sydney’s water supply.”

The original Upper Nepean system has been a vital part of Sydney’s water supply since it was completed in 1888 and consists of Prospect Reservoir, Broughtons Pass Weir, Pheasants Nest Weir and a 64 kilometre length of open canals (44km), tunnels (19km) and aqueducts (1km) known as the Upper Canal.

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