The New South Wales Government is investing in a pipeline from the Murray River to Broken Hill, aiming to secure Broken Hill’s future water supply.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the 270km pipeline as part of a $500 million investment in the 2016-17 budget.
“This is the single biggest investment to secure a town’s water supply in the history of NSW,” Mr Baird said.
“Water security has been a constant challenge for Broken Hill since it was founded in 1883. This unprecedented investment will provide a reliable water source for the historic township and surrounding communities for the first time in history.
“Everyone should have access to clean and secure water and this pipeline will provide certainty to businesses and residents to give this region every opportunity to prosper.”
Mr Baird said the final structure of the project would be determined in the near future, and while the community would be asked to contribute to the cost of the project, the government would ensure any increase in rates was introduced very gradually.
Pipeline construction is expected to begin early 2016 and be completed by late 2018.
NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant said securing the long-term water supply for Broken Hill would have benefits for communities across the Murray Darling Basin.
“This historic project will have benefits across the basin as it reduces the need for further buybacks of productive water,” Mr Grant said.
Minister for Primary Industries Lands and Water Niall Blair said Menindee was experiencing record low inflows and the Darling River had been notoriously unreliable.
“This pipelines means the Menindee Lakes can be managed more efficiently to balance the need for productive water and the importance of the Lakes for the local community,” Mr Blair said.
The pipeline was determined after extensive analysis of all possible options against strict economic, environmental and social criteria.
It is also the centerpiece of the NSW government’s $1 billion Regional Water Security and Supply Fund.