5 big projects to secure our future water supply
A PLAN to secure the future the region's water supply into the future includes the expansion of water treatment capabilities, a new dam, desalination project and a recycled water option.
The plan will be discussed at a meeting by Rous County Council this Wednesday.
If approved, it will go on public exhibition on July 1 for six weeks.
The Future Water Project 2060 identifies the most viable options for increasing the council's bulk water supply "to ensure it is secure, resilient in the face of changing climate conditions and able to sustain continued growth for at least the next 40 years".
The project's preferred option involves two key actions to secure the medium-to-long-term water supply ‒ the utilisation of Marom Creek Water Treatment Plant and the construction of the new 50-gigalitre Dunoon Dam.
1. Marom Creek: A proposed Marom Creek Water Treatment Plant Project would have two stages.
First, an upgrade of the existing treatment plant to improve its performance, reliability
The second stage would involve increasing both Rous and Ballina Shire Council's existing groundwater bore network in the Alstonville/Wollongbar area, and construction of a pipeline to Marom Creek Water Treatment Plant.
The report identifies Alstonville groundwater utilisation at Marom Creek Water Treatment Plant as "the preferred first action" and will achieve "the short-term secure yield outcomes required from existing community owned assets".
Marom Creek WTP and associated groundwater infrastructure would requires a 2020/21 budget allocation of $480,000.
2. Dunoon Dam: The recommendation going before Rous councillors this week is to progress preliminary investigations in relation to the Dunoon Dam.
This would include the approval of a $100,000 operating budget.
According to the report, the Dunoon Dam project is "the lowest cost option for securing Council's water supply to 2060 and beyond".
The dam's construction requirements, according to the document, will be significant.
"Ancillary works include 8km of water pipelines, 12km of road works, two new road bridges, a water pump station, on-site storage facilities, power upgrades and public recreation facilities such as walking tracks, picnic areas and amenities," the document explains.
Around 50 per cent of the land within the Dunoon Dam footprint is currently owned by Rous County Council.
The total initial capital cost for a 20GL dam comes just under $189 million, while the total initial capital cost for a 50GL dam is estimated in the report at $220 million.
3. Underground water: The Woodburn Coastal Sands Groundwater Scheme is an alternative option, if council is unable to secure the Marom Creek WTP and associated groundwater infrastructure before December 31, 2020.
The scheme consists of a new Water Treatment Plant along with new groundwater bores and associated interconnecting pipework.
4. Recycled water supply scheme: Rous will also consider progressing discussions with the NSW Government and Southern Cross University in relation to the pilot recycled water supply scheme for Perradenya Estate.
5. Desalination: A possible seawater desalination plant with a production capacity of 10 ML/day in an area adjacent to the existing West Byron wastewater treatment plant. However, the report estimates that "desalination in our region is not a viable water supply option due to the significant costs involved in construction and operation."