Snowy Monaro Regional Council is set to collaborate with water quality experts from WaterNSW on 17-18 June to explore methods for reducing risks to local source water quality.  

WaterNSW Executive Manager Strategy and Performance, Fiona Smith, said that one of the big lessons from the most recent drought is the water sector must collaborate more closely to build expertise and provide better access to niche skills.  

“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,” Ms 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. 

“This is why our experts are well placed to help identify risks and fast track improvements to source water quality under the New South Wales Government’s Town Water Risk Reduction Program (TWRRP) which is an initiative of the State Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW).” 

Ms Smith said that WaterNSW is delighted to have its team on the ground working alongside Snowy Monaro Regional Council on opportunities to enhance the management of multiple water sources interconnected with the Snowy Hydro Scheme.  

“As well as site visits to larger water sources at Lake Jindabyne, Cooma and Lake Eucumbene, our experts will also be familiarising themselves with water sources for the smaller towns of Bredbo, Bombala, Dalgety, Delegate, Nimmitabel and Adaminaby.  

“These site visits are the first steps in our partnership with Snowy Monaro Regional Council.” 

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 brings the strengths of major entities in the water sector, like WaterNSW, to local councils, to provide extra support to help improve water security, quality and reliability by enabling them to tap into the skills and knowledge that will best assist them. 

DCCEEW Director of Local Water Utilities, Jane Sheperd, said that collaboration is at the heart of the TWRRP.  

“We are working hand-in-hand with local water utilities to develop solutions that will help local communities lock-in a safer, more secure and sustainable water supply,” Ms Sheperd said.  

“Tapping into the expertise of WaterNSW is a great example of how we are doing this. As managers of some of the biggest dams in the state, they understand the challenges of drought, flooding and water quality better than anyone else. 

“This is why we have brought them onboard to provide extra support at the grassroots level to improve the way we’re monitoring water source quality to give local water utilities more time to adjust their treatment processes when conditions change.” 

WaterNSW has received State Government funding under the TWRRP to work with Local Water Utilities (LWUs) on dam safety risk assessments and to help improve the monitoring of source water quality.  

Under the program, DCCEEW provides ongoing support and expertise, free of charge to LWUs, to improve water treatment including providing training to water operators and funding to LWUs to carry out upgrades to plants. 

Image: Mr_Mrs_Marcha/ 

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