An image of Wilcannia in the far outback of New South Wales

Three new water treatment plants are part of a $21.5 million jointly funded project by the Federal and New South Wales Governments to improve the long-term water quality infrastructure in three Far West New South Wales communities.

The Central Darling Shire Clean Water, Healthy Community and River project aims to provide safer, more reliable drinking water to Wilcannia, Ivanhoe and White Cliffs.

One new water treatment plant will be constructed in each location to replace the old infrastructure which has passed its design life.

In addition, the project includes construction of a new reticulation system, drinking water reservoir, raw water mains and increased water storage in White Cliffs.

The new infrastructure is expected to create a more robust and sustainable water network to ensure the remote communities, including First Nations communities, have access to clean drinking water.

It is also expected to help build drought resilience and reduce the need for boil water alerts and bottled water when quality is compromised.

The New South Wales Government said that improved water security will also unlock social and economic development opportunities and allow for the growth of services in these communities.

This project is part of the Australian Government’s $150 million commitment to Closing the Gap for water security through the National Water Grid Fund.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, said, “Across Australia, about 600,000 people live in places without access to clean drinking water. It’s unacceptable that some of our communities need to buy bottled water to ensure what they are consuming is safe.

“That’s why we are committed to projects that will provide safe, sustainable and reliable water in remote communities in New South Wales.

“These critical infrastructure projects are providing real, on-the-ground benefits that are helping to provide water security in Australia.”

New South Wales Minister for Water, Rose Jackson, said, “The New South Wales Government is working hard to improve water quality and reliability in remote communities across the state because everyone has the right to access clean drinking water when they turn the tap on.

“This project will replace at-risk infrastructure in Wilcannia, White Cliffs and Ivanhoe with new plants fit for the 21st century that will use robust, state-of-the-art treatment processes to deliver safer, more reliable water to around 1000 people.

“This is a great example of what can be achieved when all levels of government come together to improve water security and services that are essential for health, life and economic development.”

Senator for New South Wales, Deborah O’Neill, said, “As the Duty Senator for Parkes I am proud that the New South Wales Government is investing to secure the foundations of the region. A clean and drought resistant water supply will have major benefits for local health, development, livelihood, and economic potential.

“Having safe and accessible drinking water is vital for every community and it is important that this essential infrastructure is continually funded and improved by all levels of government.”

Image credit: John Carnemolla/

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