Water agreement long overdue

WHEN will Orange experience a water supply emergency situation?

Orange’s water storage dams have been near full since August 2010.

Orange currently has about five years’ water supply in storage. So for a period of seven to eight years Orange could survive without the use of the proposed pipeline to the Macquarie River or any rain falling during that period.

 It would appear to any rational thinking person that there is time to re-evaluate the pipeline project so that long-term regional solutions can be initiated. 

Connecting Orange to the Central Tablelands Water supply could be achieved by connecting into the CWT supply at Millthorpe. Admittedly there would be some expense in upgrading this pipeline but,  if the Browns Creek water source could be utilised,  a greater portion of the region would be drought-proofed in regards to human consumption.

 I would consider sourcing water from a secured water supply, like Burrendong Dam,  would be a most appropriate course of action for the future long-term water security for Orange and region. 

Using funds available for the  pipeline construction would be useful to begin a pipeline section from Burrendong Dam to Mumbil. Later, this pipeline could be extended along the rail easement to Wellington and Orange. This would be the start of a useful regional pipeline system.

Orange (to council’s credit) has two schemes that could greatly help in regard to securing water for Orange:  namely, the dual water system and the stormwater harvesting scheme. Sadly, neither of these schemes is currently operational. 

Council was not allowed to harvest any water from the recently flooded streams in Orange, and the dual water system being developed over the past decade or so,  with infrastructure installed in the newer suburbs, can’t be supplied with non-potable (drinking) water. 

It is estimated that if the stormwater harvesting scheme was in use during the last dry period,  Orange’s water storage could have been maintained at more than 50 per cent capacity.

With the full utilisation of stormwater harvesting, dual water supply, rainwater tanks and water demand management it would be reasonable to expect that there would be no future emergency water required for Orange. Orange would not require any water train.

There is a need for an independent assessment of this proposed pipeline project in order to achieve the most viable project possible.

After 14 years of talking and contractual arrangements, isn’t it time the Orange community saw some agreement between Orange City Council, Cadia Valley Operations, Summer Hill Creek water users and the NSW Office of Water?  The lack of this agreement is holding up a sensible solution to any perceived water security issue in the Orange area.  

Cyril Smith,