Photo caption: Celebrating the competition of the new $11 million Walcha water storage dam at the weekend, Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes, left, Council’s Director Infrastructure & Development Alan Butler, General Manager Phil Hood, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce.
Monday, 4 December 2023
New $11 million Walcha water storage dam completed
A WATER security revolution has taken place on the outskirts of Walcha, on a quiet bend of the MacDonald River, with the completion of the first water supply dam built in NSW in more than a quarter of a century – the $11 million Walcha Water Supply Dam.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, along with the Member for New England Barnaby Joyce and Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes, were on hand to celebrate the completion of this this critical project at the weekend, along with the local community.
The project 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 on Saturday it was a ‘red letter’ day for Walcha, with the completion of the new 300 megalitre dam which would deliver complete water security for the 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 dam quadruples Walcha’s off-river water storage capacity, not only building an almost two-year water supply buffer against drought, but it will enable to the community to grow.
“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.
“I’m incredibly proud of Walcha Council, which is leading the way for the rest of the State, successfully constructing the first new town water supply dam in over 25 years, since Split Rock Dam was opened.
“Congratulations to Walcha council, especially Mayor Eric Noakes, who has spearheaded the push for this project for many years and delivered in quickly and efficiently.
“This dam will support the community’s continued growth, through the worst that mother nature can throw at us, for the next half a century – this is something to celebrate and be very proud of.”
Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes said the Walcha Off Stream Storage 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.
“The dam has also been a major win for Walcha’s economy because with local tradies and contractors picking up a lot of work, keeping much of the grants funds local.”
Council is now filling the dam, pumping water from the MacDonald River, under its extraction licence. The dam currently sits at 25 per cent of capacity.