Photo caption: Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes, left, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Deputy Premier Paul Toole inspecting construction progress on the $11 million Walcha off-stream storage dam yesterday.
Wednesday, 15 February 2023
$11 million water storage dam construction on track
A WATER security revolution in Walcha is taking shape on a quiet bend of the MacDonald River, on the outskirts of the township, with work on the new $11 million Walcha Off Stream Storage facility on track for completion by the middle of the year.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall was yesterday joined by Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes to inspect progress on the critical 320 megalitre water project.
The project, which kicked off in October last year, is a joint initiative between the Australian and NSW Governments, with the federal funding portion of $2 million delivered from the National Water Grid Fund Connections Pathway and the State committing $9 million from the Safe and Secure Water Program.
Mr Marshall said he was impressed by the speed of progress on the new dam, which will deliver complete water security for the Walcha community.
“The drought of 2019 drove home to many rural communities just how vulnerable our town water supplies are without regular rainfall and run off, Walcha was not immune and almost ran dry,” Mr Marshall said.
“This new storage will quadruple Walcha’s river storage capacity, not only building an almost two-year water supply buffer against drought, but it will enable to the community to grow and I commend Walcha Council for moving quickly to have this major project constructed.
“The dam itself is almost complete, with the spillway now under construction ahead of the installation of all the new pump and pipeline infrastructure in the coming months.
“Everything is on track for council to begin filling the dam, pumping out of the MacDonald River, by the middle of this year.
“This project is the great legacy of that worst drought on record and will ensure that the community can withstand whatever mother nature throws at it in the future.”
Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes said the project was one of the most important water infrastructure projects in the region’s history and would go a long way towards creating a stronger, more resilient community.
“The new storage dam has been the number one priority for Walcha Council because it will enable us to be better prepared to face the devastation of drought events by providing a safer and more secure source of drinking water,” Cr Noakes said.
“This project has also been a major win for Walcha’s economy because projects of this size create jobs and put more money in the till for local businesses.”