Manilla residents have had their say on the draft Namoi Regional Water Strategy and the shortlisted options to deliver a more secure and resilient water supply for the community, now and in the long term.
Minister for Lands and Water, Kevin Anderson, said the Department of Planning and Environment met with residents and stakeholders at Manilla Town Hall on 7 September to discuss the plan and listen to feedback.
“It is important that the department builds this Strategy by working closely with the people the Namoi region and keeps their water needs front of mind – especially as they put a roadmap in place to manage water for future droughts,” Mr Anderson said.
“The community needs effective solutions that work for everyone including residents, businesses, agriculture and other industries while also supporting a healthy environment.
“After listening carefully to community feedback and completing extensive assessments, I decided not to progress the Blue Hole Weir and Pipeline to Split Rock Dam project last December.
“I can confirm this proposal is completely off the table as it does not stack up economically,would have negative environmental impacts and is not in the best interest of the community.”
As part of potential future options, the Strategy has instead shortlisted new pipelines, investigating innovative ways to manage groundwater like managed aquifer recharge, and rehabilitating riverbanks to improve the health of the region’s waterways.
“We know there is community support for a number of the shortlisted actions in the strategy, but the department has also heard concerns from some residents and stakeholders, which they will carefully consider before moving them forward.
“One of the key issues raised in the meeting was about water security during drought. Water for healthy communities is our number one priority. That’s why the Strategy includes many actions to provide greater water security and reliability and boost drought resilience so Manilla is on the front foot to manage a more variable climate in the long term.”
These actions include:
• Advanced water treatment for industry
• Improving our knowledge about the sustainable use of water sources during drought
• Better sharing of data and climate knowledge to support businesses and communities to forward plan
“There is no silver bullet when it comes to water security. The department needs to pull every lever they have and invest in a range of infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions,” Mr Anderson said.
“We remain committed to building the new Dungowan Dam and Pipeline because it is the best water supply augmentation option for nearby Tamworth and the Peel Valley and puts the Namoi in a stronger position to weather the next drought, which climate risk modelling shows could be far worse than anything we have experienced before.
“The Strategy also includes a mix of demand management, water efficiency, policy and operational initiatives to diversify town water sources and reduce the level of reliance on dams. Some of these options can also help support the water needs of Manilla.
“The Namoi Regional Water Strategy provides detailed information on these solutions and the department are now carefully considering all feedback.”
The Namoi Regional Water Strategy will be finalised later this year. For more information on the Strategy, visit: https://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/namoi-regional-water-strategy