TANKERS of water sourced from a Burrendong Dam pipeline could be chugging along the Mumbil to Orange rail line if Macquarie Pipeline opponent Cyril Smith has his way.
Building a seven-kilometre pipeline from the dam to Mumbil and bringing the water to Orange on the back of a train is the latest emergency water solution being floated by the Orange Water Security Alliance.
Mr Smith said he came up with the idea a couple of years ago and believed it was worth further investigation as an alternative to the $47 million Macquarie Pipeline.
“The pipeline to Mumbil can be the first section of a regional pipeline,” he said.
“Wellington is looking at a pipeline for water and if we do the first section now they could access it and at a later date it could come to Orange. The times when you need it would be so rare it would be a considered as a drastic emergency solution.”
But Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond slammed the idea saying it was “frightening” the group wanted to promote the idea of letting the water supply reach emergency levels.
“The idea is not to get into an emergency situation, that’s the whole idea of the [Macquarie] pipeline,” he said.
Mr Redmond said a NSW Office of Water assessment, done when water storage reached critical levels, to determine what to do if this city ran out of water showed the expense of carting water into the city.
“They found it would take 225 tankers per week and it would cost $25 million for the first three months,” he said.
“The thought of getting to that position is frightening.”
He estimated Mr Smith’s idea would cost even more because of extra rail sidings that would need to be built.
“It would cost far in excess of what any government would spend. They’ve accused council of adopting outdated technology, but the idea of a water caboose into Orange is not acceptable for a growing region,” he said.
Mr Smith said the council, NSW Office of Water, Cadia Valley Operations and the Summer Hill Creek Care group needed to agree on water allocations so more water could be taken from the stormwater harvesting scheme.
Mr Redmond said the negotiations were ongoing.