Water crisis; Dubbo Regional Council CEO pushes for pipeline to Wellington

DAM: Dubbo Regional Council chief executive officer Michael McMahon is also reporting of a proposal to construct a pipeline between Wellington and Burrendong Dam subject to talks with WaterNSW. Photo: File
DAM: Dubbo Regional Council chief executive officer Michael McMahon is also reporting of a proposal to construct a pipeline between Wellington and Burrendong Dam subject to talks with WaterNSW. Photo: File

The development of a "shovel-ready" plan for a water pipeline running from Dubbo to Wellington is being recommended to Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) by its chief executive officer (CEO) Michael McMahon.

He also suggests the council ask the state government to help pay for it.

In a water security strategy report to Monday night's council meeting, Mr McMahon tells of Wellington's "full reliance" on river water in the worst drought on record.

Mr McMahon said a proposal to construct a pipeline between Wellington and Burrendong Dam was being assessed to meet the town's immediate water supply needs, subject to talks with WaterNSW.

At the same time he is promoting the extension of the water pipeline now running from Dubbo to Wongarbon.

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"Preliminary design work has already been undertaken for an extension of this system from Wongarbon to Geurie," he said.

"It is recommended that investigation and detailed design of this network from Geurie to Wellington be commenced, to bring the entire Dubbo-Wellington pipeline project to a shovel-ready stage," the CEO said.

Mr McMahon said the council should apply for funding from the state government.

"This could possibly be on a shared funding arrangement, as the pipeline would not only assist in the short term in securing Wellington's potable water supply during the current drought, but in the longer term would serve as a key interconnection in the DRC water network, improving water security and redundancy for both Dubbo and Wellington in the future," he said.

The CEO tells of "other pipeline options".

"..it is proposed to also explore other options, particularly a number of pipeline routes, which could ultimately form part of a regional pipe network which could convey water from new sources to the existing water infrastructure networks in either Dubbo or Wellington," he said.

Currently, Wellington has "very limited" groundwater with an entitlement of 350 megalitres a year on a bore which is not operating at Montefiores, Mr McMahon says.

"Therefore, due to its full reliance on river supply currently, there is an urgent need to develop additional water sources for Wellington as no viable alternative supply exists if the river ceases to flow," he said.

The CEO said approval was being sought to drill test bores.

He said Bell River aquifer groundwater licensed for recreation/irrigation use was being assessed as to its ability to become town water.

Storm water harvesting and reuse of effluent were other opportunities to be explored, the CEO said.