Hunter Water is drilling a 300m long, 20m deep tunnel to host a water main beneath Swansea Channel in New South Wales as part of a $3 million project to improve water security for local residents.

Hunter Water Executive Manager for Investment and Innovation, Darren Cleary, said the new pipeline would give Swansea residents the water security expected in the modern age.

“There are 4,500 properties south of Swansea Bridge including homes, schools and businesses relying on us at Hunter Water to ensure they have a steady supply of safe drinking water.

“The nature of supplying water to the area means we need to transport it across Swansea Channel. With Swansea Bridge opening regularly for boat traffic in and out of Lake Macquarie, services like water have been laid on the channel floor using the best technology of the day.

“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.”

Hunter Water is employing the use of horizontal directional drilling which enables the new pipeline to be laid away from tidal movements and salt water.

“To remove the risk of residents running out of water, a second pipeline is being tunnelled underground from Little Pelican to Swansea using a technique called horizontal directional drilling. Residents will have two connections to Hunter Water’s network, essentially providing a safety net in case of a break.

“Thanks to this project, thousands of residents plus hotels, resorts, clubs and businesses won’t face the prospect of a lengthy water outage should the existing pipeline break.

“The existing pipeline was laid using the best technology of its time. Today however we’re able to utilise the innovative horizontal directional drilling technique, allowing us to lay the new pipeline deep beneath Swansea Channel away from tidal movements and salt water.”

The Swansea Channel water main crossing project will be completed by Christmas 2017.

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