The completion of a 17.9-kilometre water pipeline from Yass to Murrumbateman will provide a secure water supply for residents in the Yass Valley while meeting the needs of the growing Murrumbateman population, according to the representatives of all three levels of government that funded the project.
The $14.3 million project, which has literally been in the pipeline for a decade, will also end residents’ reliance on low-quality bore water.
While not ruling out an increase in water charges to ratepayers in the shire, Yass Valley Council mayor Rowena Abbey said a higher priority was to provide a reliable and secure source of water to residents who have had to endure brown water with a high mineral content for years.
“That water makes it hard for our coffee machines to operate, which we also need to keep us going,” she said.
Ms Abbey said a secure water supply will provide a flow-on effect to major infrastructure projects such as the master-planned Yarrah housing development at Yass and the planning of a primary school at Murrumbateman.
“We had reviewed looking at bringing water from the Murrumbidgee River and had lots of different options, and the one that made the most sense was using the volume of water that we have here in the Yass Dam. Even through the drought, we had water security.
“This major infrastructure project is now complete with the reservoir full of water from the Yass Water Treatment plant after successful commissioning of the pipeline, pump station and reservoir. It has been a massive undertaking for Council staff and contractors, and I’m pleased to say that we are now ready to supply water to the people of Murrumbateman,” said Ms Abbey.
Ms Abbey was flanked by the NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, Senator for NSW Perin Davey and Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he was pleased the issue of water security in the shire would not be ignored as people flock to regional centres.
“This project, funded under the $611 million National Stronger Regions Fund, is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s regions by improving the productivity, employment and workforce skills of Australians,” Mr McCormack said.
“The $14.3 million investment was made possible with $6.1 million from the Australian Government, $3.9 million from the NSW Government and $4.2 million from Yass Valley Council.”
Ms Abbey also said once funding had been secured for the project, the process of clearing Yass Valley’s water quality and supply issues could commence.
“We can’t afford to do everything we want at once here, so we had to apply for grants like every other small community, but when you’ve got a good business case which our team put together, we were successful in our grant funding,” she said.
“We are now in discussions with various ministers and departments to provide long-term water security over the next 20 to 50 years.”
The pipeline from Yass to a 2.15 megalitre tank at Murrumbateman will service up to 3000 people in the village and improve water quality in the area. It is also estimated that 170 new jobs will be created through potential housing construction activities that will take advantage of a reliable water source.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said while recent rainfall had boosted dams to capacity, now was not a time to be complacent with water.
“We need to use the precious gift of time these rain events have given us to prepare and plan for the future by building the infrastructure and systems required to future-proof regional communities against drought,” Ms Pavey said.
One of the Yass Valley’s long-time locals, developer Peter Walker, said Yass is a nerve centre of the region and has a long history with water security.
“I remember in the mid-1970s being approached as the then shire president to take water from Yass to Binalong when we’d run out of water,” he said. “This area is growing so rapidly now that having a secure water supply is crucial to our future.”