The Coalition's National Water Security agenda reaches New England
17 June, 2016
The Coalition Government is getting on with the job of delivering our water infrastructure needs, today announcing $550,000 for a feasibility study into increasing water security in the Border Rivers through a new dam on the Mole River and $850,000 for a feasibility study into augmenting the Dungowan Dam to increase long-term water security in the Peel and Namoi Valleys.
Both projects were submitted by the NSW Government under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce today announced this funding and committed $75 million to the construction of the new Dungowan Dam.
“If the dams proves to be feasible, from an economic, engineering and environmental perspective, the Coalition will contribute $75 million to get it built,” Minister Joyce said.
“We started and finished Chaffey Dam in our last term of Government, who’s to say what we can achieve in the next term.”
The study will build upon the desktop study commissioned by Tamworth Regional Council and undertaken by hunterh2o. The 2015 report indicated that the best option to augment the dam would be a new 22.5 GL dam on Dungowan Creek, downstream from the existing dam.
The report estimated that the project would cost $150 million.
“The new Dungowan Dam would resolve any ongoing safety standards with the existing dam and provide a significant increase in Tamworth’s water security, with significant flow on benefits to other water users in the Peel and Namoi catchments,” Minister Joyce said.
“Water is wealth and a dam is a bank. The Coalition Government is committed to delivering jobs and economic growth right around Australia. Investing in water infrastructure is a tangible way to deliver on that commitment.”
Minister Joyce said the other study will look at the feasibility of a new dam on the Mole River that will increase water security in the Tenterfield and Border Rivers catchment for local communities and farmers.
“Border Rivers water users are currently served by a three small dams and there are a number of potential large dam sites in the valley that have been identified in the past. A new storage would have the potential to secure more water to carry communities and agriculture through dry times.”
Minister Joyce said the Coalition would also commit to providing $100,000 to fast-track a feasibility study into the use of the Apsley River catchment to improve Walcha’s water security.
“Walcha Council currently has to pump water from the MacDonald River at considerable cost and in recent years the river has run dry for the first time in half a century,” Minister Joyce said.
“It’s vitally important we explore all options to supplement Walcha’s water supply. If the Apsley River is shown to have acceptable yields, it could present a lower cost alternative or supplement to Walcha’s existing supply.
“The Walcha Council has taken the initiative to propose a range of infrastructure options in the catchment, I’m very pleased that we are today announcing the funding to make a proper investigation of those options a possibility
Minister Joyce said the Coalition was delivering on its $2.5 billion commitment to building the water infrastructure of the future.
“It’s the right time for our significant investment in water infrastructure. A transitioning economy and growing global demand for agrifood products mean this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for our agriculture sector,” he said.
“As the economy transitions and diversifies, agricultural exports are playing a more important role than ever in our nation’s economy and prosperity. Rural exports have already overtaken coal to become our second-largest export after iron ore.
“The Coalition is taking action by carrying out the most significant investment in infrastructure in Australian history, including through the roll-out of our $15 billion water reform agenda, so we can make the most of these opportunities.
“From water infrastructure, to transport infrastructure and digital infrastructure, the Coalition is laying the foundations to support a productive and profitable agriculture sector, and a strong national economy.”