Work has begun on a $11 million project to construct a new 300ML off-stream storage dam at Walcha, New South Wales, and will include upgrades to a river offtake pumping station.

The off-creek storage dam is being built on a small tributary of the MacDonald River, 16km from existing water treatment infrastructure.

The project includes upgrading a river offtake pumping station, upgrades to the water inlet structure, new access roads and fencing, and new pipework to connect the dam to the nearby town water supply pump station.

Site clearing has been completed and early works have commenced. Major work will commence in mid-September, and major construction due to be finished by mid-2023.

New South Wales Minister for Lands and Water, Kevin Anderson, said breaking ground on the project is a landmark moment for Walcha residents and businesses because it will address uncertainty around water supply and put the community on the front foot when the next dry spell comes.

“In 2019, Walcha faced lengthy water restrictions because its existing small 80 megalitre off-creek water storage was not big enough to service the town’s 3092 residents, which is why we are putting this new infrastructure in place to stop that happening again.

“The new dam will quadruple the river storage capacity transforming the way Walcha manages its water resources, particularly during droughts.”

The New South Wales and Federal Governments are funding the project.

The New South Wales Government has committed $9 million to the project from its Safe and Secure Water Program.

The Federal Government made a contribution of $2 million, sourced from its National Water Grid Fund Connections Pathway program.

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