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New WA pipeline in response to reduced rainfall

Long-term water security is on its way to Western Australia’s Denmark with the completion of a 43-kilometer pipeline from nearby Albany, and the Lower Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme.

The $25 million water pipeline project was developed in response to reduced rainfall in the region due to climate change and will ensure the town doesn’t need to rely on Quickup Dam for water supplies.

Although Denmark has enjoyed above average winter rains this year, the region is one of the most climate-impacted areas of the world. Since 2014, Denmark has experienced four of its driest winters since 1911.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said that while the recent rain has been very welcome, the trend towards a drying region meant relying on water from Quickup Dam is no longer viable.

"Due to climate change, we can't rely on rainfall to sustain the supply from Quickup Dam. The fact is that this winter's heavy rainfall is an anomaly – the last time Quickup was full at this time of year was 2005,” he said.

"In the face of significant long-term reductions in rainfall and run-off into dams, connecting towns like Denmark to larger, more secure water schemes provides an alternative water supply during the drier years."

Ensuring water security

Denmark is expected to be supplied via the pipeline during winter and spring, and from Quickup Dam in summer and autumn when demand is higher.

Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie said it’s great to see the completion of the project, especially considering the works program utilised local businesses and care taken to maintain local habitats.

“Since 2014, Denmark has experienced four of the driest winters in the region on record. So, despite the recent rains, this means that Quickup Dam alone is no longer a reliable long-term water source for the community,” she said.

"This project is a great example of how we were able to engage local contractors and use local suppliers, minimise the environmental impact through a 42% reduction in vegetation clearance and save taxpayer dollars through careful routing of the pipeline."

Ninety-four percent of the 198 workforce were from the Great Southern region, including 13 Aboriginal workers via Impact Services, which is a local Aboriginal-employment services supplier.

Environmental targets were also exceeded throughout construction, with a 42% reduction in vegetation clearance to just 144 sqm, and all black cockatoo habitat trees retained.

The project was a collaboration between Water Corporation, Shire of Denmark, City of Albany, Main Roads, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and WA-based head contractor Georgiou and its sub-contractors.