The NSW Government has today confirmed the installation of a WaterNSW drought emergency pump in Burrendong Dam. The pump will be used to supply remnant water out of the Dam in the event of critically low dam levels.
The pump network and associated operational apparatus has been constructed and commissioned – part of a $6.7million project that adds 16 gigalitres of precious additional town supply to communities in the drought-affected Macquarie valley.
Inflows into Burrendong in April have lifted the storage capacity to above 12 per cent – up from 1.5 per cent in February – so the pumping equipment will be stored on site for future use should the storage again fall to critically low levels.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the project was among $65 million in urgent drought measures across regional NSW announced in August last year.
“Burrendong Dam fell as low at 1.5 per cent in February and although we are all relieved to have received widespread rainfall and some welcome inflows into Burrendong, this is by no means an end to the drought here and elsewhere in regional NSW,” Minister Pavey said.
“As a government facing growing water insecurity across several northern valleys including the Macquarie, we acted decisively and on a scale that brought immediate results in extending the availability of surface water from dams such as Burrendong.
“This enabled local communities’ sufficient time to implement strategies to shore up their town water supply: in the case of Dubbo, supported with $30 million in additional government funding to extend its groundwater network.”
Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders MP said the pump pontoon project not only safe-guarded town supply at a critical time, but it will be on hand to help drought-proof the region should it be required.
“I commend WaterNSW for the timely manner in which it has managed this project, which has also confirmed its ability to reliably deliver urgent drought infrastructure projects,” he said.
“While the need to extract the last of Burrendong’s storage is thankfully not required for the time being, the fact that the pumps will be ready for immediate service in the future adds to the drought resilience of the local communities dependent on the dam.”
Contractor Seymour Whyte, employed local contractors and purchased locally available equipment and materials where possible to deliver the project.
Mr Saunders said work on a coffer dam to help access water below the level of the dam wall’s outlet valve will resume if the dam storage falls below 1.5%, and the pump system would then be installed.
“While rain and dam inflows have been well-received and offered a temporary reprieve, it is most important that we remember that the impacts of the drought are very much still with us.”