Mayor welcomes minister to Suma Park

Orange Council

Orange Mayor Jason Hamling welcomed NSW Water Minister Rose Jackson to Suma Park Dam today.

The Minister was in Orange to flag the latest progress on a $6.2 million infrastructure project to boost drought resilience and water security in the face of the drying conditions across the Central Tablelands.

The project, which can be used in emergency drought conditions, includes:

  • $5.5 million to connect Cowra and the Central Tablelands Water (CTW) systems, so the region can share water when supplies hit critically low levels.
  • $150,000 to help Central Tablelands Water bring plans to upgrade the backbone of its water mains network to the tender-ready stage.
  • $577,500 for Cabonne Shire Council to accelerate important investigative works that will determine the best infrastructure options to help future proof water for its residents.

WATER: Work continues on a new 12 mega-litre water reservoir at Carcoar.

The Cowra to Central Tablelands project is the missing piece in the network, installing new infrastructure including a pumpstation at Woodstock, a 12ML reservoir at Carcoar Water Treatment Plant and upgrading the inlet system at Cowra to better connect the regions water systems.

The work is predicted to be a gamechanger during severe droughts allowing water to be transferred from Cowra to western towns like Canowindra and Grenfell while ensuring Orange can also share its resources, via existing pipelines.

The upgrade which is expected to be completed before the end of the year also gives Carcoar Water Treatment Plant the capacity to treat and pump up to 5 megalitres of water per day from Lake Rowlands to Orange, during emergency drought conditions. This compliments Orange's existing ability to share water with Central Tablelands Water during times of critical water needs, improving the resilience of both water utilities.

Minister for Water Rose Jackson said the work will help deliver a stronger, more secure water future for the Central Tablelands.

"The last drought put town water supplies across this region under enormous pressure and was the major wakeup call we all needed to work together to put the right infrastructure in place to manage a changing climate," Ms Jackson said.

"With drier conditions already impacting the region, it's a relief to know the Cowra to Central Tablelands project will be completed by the end of the year so the region has greater flexibility to send water where it is needed the most.

Orange Mayor Jason Hamling is pleased to welcome the Minister to visit Suma Park dam.

"Because our dams are full, Orange is currently in a good position going into the summer ahead, but now we need look after every drop," Cr Jason Hamling said.

"The new network of connecting pipelines funded by the NSW Government gets us ready ahead of time for the next drought. It delivers the regional water infrastructure we need to connect major storage dams with communities across the region, that we can use if we're dealing with emergency drought conditions.

"Working in partnership with Cowra Shire Council, Central Tablelands Water and the State Government means we can have the pipelines, pump stations and reservoirs we need to ensure we can assist each other when the going gets tough."

Central Tablelands Water Chair David Somervaille is looking forward to the final stages of the project being completed.

"Building new infrastructure to deliver better water security for the Central Tablelands ahead of the next El Nino was a no-brainer which is why it's great to see the project reaching the finishing line," Mr Somervaile said.

"This has been a massive joint effort at the grassroots level with Orange, Cowra and Central Tablelands Water working in partnership with the NSW Government to get the job done and enable us to be more drought-ready than ever before.

"The new funding from the NSW Government will also help us finalise the groundwork to upgrade 80km of cast iron pipes, which are the make or break of our water system for Carcoar, Mandurama, Lyndhurst, Canowindra, Cudal, Cargo, Manildra, Eugowra and Grenfell."

Cowra Mayor Ruth Fagan was pleased to attend the event.

"The Cowra to Central Tablelands project has been a huge, combined effort over many years from planning to completion, so it's a terrific to reach this major milestone," Ms Fagan said.

"It also shows what you can achieve when neighbouring Councils work side-by-side in conjunction with the NSW Government to improve water security outcomes for local communities."

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