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WaterNSW develops a 20-year infrastructure options study

The study outlines options for improving services through the development of its infrastructure network, which includes 42 major dams, hundreds of weirs and pipelines, and Australia’s largest surface and groundwater monitoring network.

WaterNSW CEO David Harris said the plan is the first of its type in over 40 years for regional NSW, one which sets down a blueprint for WaterNSW’s future operational activity.

“The intention of this project was to explore in detail potential issues and opportunities facing WaterNSW, and to understand our customers’ expectations and needs as far as current and future levels of service may be concerned,” Harris said.

“This analysis will also provide a context for rational, long-term decision-making by all levels of government and WaterNSW, helping to target and prioritise long-term bulk water supply infrastructure investments that meet broader government policy objectives, regional growth strategies and future customer needs.”

“This strategy is not a capital investment plan, but rather a baseline from which to guide future decision making and benchmark future investments.”

Spokesman for WaterNSW Tony Webber said the study provides a good foundation for further inquiry and decision-making regarding infrastructure investment, but also other options for servicing communities and farmlands.

"We have been crunching the numbers and done the modelling to try and predict where the people will be living and what irrigation industries will look like in the next few decades,” he said.

"There might be a better way of supplying the water, such as storing the water in a river that will supply the needs of the local community,” he said.

"It might be better to invest money in piping to reduce evaporation, or reducing the length of irrigation channelling if it is only there to provide water to a few farmers.

“It is not just about building dams for dams’ sake. They are permanent structures that cost billions of dollars.”