Council endorses $30 million Water for the Future Strategy

Dubbo Regional Council’s Water for the Future consultant Chris Devitt and staff at Dubbo Regional Council, have been extremely busy developing a range of potential water supply solutions utilising the funding made available by the State Government in June.
A report presented at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Monday night outlined the key elements which are proposed to be funded by the $30 million provided by the NSW Government.

Dubbo Regional Council’s Chief Executive Officer Michael McMahon said it has taken a lot of investigation and consultation to get to this point but he is happy with the approach.
“There is no hiding that this drought is different to any in recorded history. Burrendong Dam which feeds the Macquarie River has not experienced its regular fill cycle for an unprecedented three consecutive years and we don’t know what’s ahead of us in terms of the weather.

“Dubbo Regional Council staff have been working to secure our water supply since January 2019, I am happy that Council has endorsed our plan to spend the funding and we can now move forward with the execution,” Mr McMahon said.

The key component of the $30 million plan is the construction of a network of pipes throughout Dubbo to connect Council’s existing recreational bores to the water filtration plant, enabling these bores to augment the city’s water supply.

Water for the Future consultant Chris Devitt said this cross city pipeline will future proof the city for the long term.
“Building infrastructure that can make use of Council’s existing recreational bore entitlements to supplement the town’s drinkable water is crucial. Council has been reducing the amount of water it’s using on its recreational spaces, so utilising that saved water, processing it into drinking water will be very important as the drought continues,” Mr Devitt said.
The proposed network of pipes across Dubbo will also facilitate high quality recycled water to be piped from the sewage treatment plant to appropriate locations across Dubbo to be used as a replacement water source to relieve demand on the existing potable water supplies.

“The re-use of recycled water from the Dubbo Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) offers a sustainable, reliable and readily accessible supply of water which can be effectively utilised to help secure the city’s future water supply needs,” Mr Devitt said

At present this water is provided, under a series of commercial supply agreements, to a number of properties to the north of Dubbo for irrigation of fodder crops, as well as to the Council owned Greengrove property.

“The current drought has provided a renewed focus on the highest and best potential use of recycled water, and so requires these current arrangements to be reviewed.
“The volume of recycled water produced by the Dubbo STP is very reliable, effectively representing a fixed portion of the water used by residents to meet their daily indoor human needs, as well as commercial and industrial uses,” Mr Devitt said.

“It is proposed to develop a Recycled Water Management Plan to guide decisions on the potential opportunities for recycled water usage, and the ensure Council is fully aware of the appropriate levels of additional treatment, and ongoing management requirements needed to secure the necessary Ministerial approval,” he said.

The Recycled Water Management Plan will be developed utilising external specialist consultants and will involve all Council staff who will be involved in the planning, development and operation of any future recycled water system.

The recycled water has a number of potential uses. In the short term it is proposed as replacement water for existing groundwater currently being used to irrigate key open space areas or other appropriate Council operations. It can also be used as a substitute water supply for current commercial operators who are high water users but do not require full potable water for their operations, including Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The Recycled Management Plan is a big step forward in the efficient use of water in our region said Mr Devitt.
“This recycled water can also potentially be used as substitute water for groundwater irrigators, enabling the trading of an agreed volume of groundwater to Council in return for this recycled water which will form a large component of securing the town’s drinking water as we move through the worst drought in recorded history,” he said.

Following Council’s endorsement of the Water for the Future Strategy The tender for the cross city pipeline is due to be advertised by Dubbo Regional Council in the coming weeks aiming to commence construction 2020. Another key element of the Water for the Future strategy includes the development of additional groundwater sources in Dubbo and Wellington and the reestablishment of the Geurie groundwater source. Further components of the $30 million project include:

  • The provision of enhancing water treatment processes at the Dubbo Sewage Treatment Plant to
    ensure the quality of recycled water discharged for re-use meets appropriate quality standards.
  • Construction of a backwash water re-use scheme at the Dubbo Water Filtration Plant.
  • Purchase of additional groundwater water entitlements from licence holders.

To stay up to date on the progress of the strategy visit Council’s website www.dubbo.nsw.gov.au

Last Edited: 27 Nov 2019

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