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Parkes to receive $6 million water infrastructure grant

Parkes Shire Council’s $61 million investment in new water security infrastructure has received a $6 million grant from the Federal Government through the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF). 

The package of water security projects will create a new raw water supply network that almost doubles the current capacity and enables the council to reach the full potential of its water licence entitlement by improving ageing water infrastructure

The new raw water supply network will be powered by solar energy to reduce electricity from the grid and limit carbon dioxide emissions. Parkes Shire Council is collaborating with other shires in the region to create a new CENTROC regional water grid.

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the BBRF grant will be applied to Stage 1 of the $14.4 million Lachlan River Water Supply Duplication Project, which aims to ensure enough water is available to support the growing region.

“Parkes is a growing community and water supply is vital, especially considering the town’s unique location as the only junction of Australia’s north–south and east–west rail corridors,” he said.

“The Parkes Special Activation Precinct offers fantastic business opportunities and delivers more jobs for the region on the back of the Federal Government’s Inland Rail project. 

“This significant project will deliver the water infrastructure needed to ensure the community can reach its vast potential.”

Securing Parkes's future

Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith said the funding will help to enable the critical water project, which will ensure the town’s water security into the future.

“The federal funding forms part of a multi-funded project to duplicate the pipeline to boost water supply for our growing community,” he said.

With Parkes positioned at the centre of Australia’s inland transport network, there are plenty of opportunities for further investment in the region, but growth relies on securing water supplies, Keith said.

"Council has a long history of working collaboratively with local businesses, state and federal government to plan, deliver and operate complex new water infrastructure within budget and on time,” he said. 

“Our integrated water cycle management approach to planning critical new water assets means we consider water infrastructure to meet future demand while fulfilling our obligations as a council for environmental sustainability, our community’s aspirations, economic growth targets and financial responsibility.”

Ensuring mine's access

Parkes Shire Council also conveys water for Northparkes Mines, which owns its own water licences and is dependent on access to a secure raw water supply.

Northparkes Managing Director Hubert Lehman said the company has been working in conjunction with the council to ensure long-term water supply planning. 

“Northparkes has a longstanding valued relationship with council, particularly when it comes to our operational water usage,” he said. 

“Over the past 12 months, we have been working closely with council on the Northparkes Mines' requirements towards a long-term water supply agreement."

The Parkes water security projects include construction of more than 39 km of new pipeline to move water around the network more efficiently, with improved pump stations and pre-treatment plants at Eugowra Road and Akuna Road.

The projects will also add 20 megalitres of storage capacity in the raw water dam, additional bores to sustainably spread the load on the Lachlan aquifer, and a direct pipeline route to the water treatment plant.