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WaterNSW has announced that it will partner with two councils to reduce risks at the source of local water supplies.

The company will partner with both Snowy Valleys Council and Murrumbidgee Council, aiming to improve drinking water for local communities. 

Water NSW will visit Tumut from 6-7 May 2024 and the Murrumbidgee area from 8-9 May 2024.

WaterNSW’s Executive Manager Strategy and Performance, Fiona Smith, said, “WaterNSW is a national leader in the water sector, operating most of the large dams in New South Wales and protecting the health of the drinking water catchment that supplies the more than five million people of Greater Sydney.

“One of the big lessons from the most recent drought is that the water sector must collaborate more closely to build expertise and provide better access to niche skills outside normal local government functions.

“Some of those niche but critically important functions include catchment management and better ways to monitor and reduce risks at the source of water used in local town water supplies.

“This is why our experts are well placed to help councils identify risks and fast track improvements to source water quality under the New South Wales Government’s Town Water Risk Reduction Program (TWRRP).

“The site visit to Blowering Dam and at key source water locations at Tumut, Brungle, Talbingo and Batlow are the first steps in our partnership with Snowy Valleys Council.

For the company’s partnership with Murrumbidgee Council, Ms Smith said that the next steps are site visits to key source water locations at Jerilderie, Coleambally and Darlington Point.

Murrumbidgee was one of six regional councils that helped WaterNSW pilot phase one of the TWRRP in 2022.

“We’re delighted to have our team working alongside Council water managers on opportunities to enhance the management of source water quality to ultimately reduce risk to drinking water supplies.”

Ms Smith said that source water quality is a critical part of the multi-barrier approach to address risks to water quality throughout the whole of the water supply chain, from the raw water source in the catchment, water storages and transfer systems through to treatment plants and delivery systems to customers’ taps.

“The multi-barrier approach recognises that while each individual barrier may not be able to completely remove or prevent contamination all of the time, they collectively provide greater assurance that the water supply will be safe.” 

The TWRRP is a whole-of-government response that aims to bring the strengths of major entities in the water sector to local councils and water utilities who can choose to tap into the skills and knowledge that will best assist them.

WaterNSW is working with councils on source water quality and dam safety risk assessments, while the NSW Department of Climate Change, the Environment, Energy and Water (DCCEEW) delivers expertise on water treatment facilities.

Image credit: Ausdrones by WilljH/Shutterstock.com.

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