THE Macquarie pipeline will not become obsolete if the proposed Needles Gap dam is built, according to Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond.
The pipeline will become one piece in a network of water security options, he says.
The $47 million pipeline will link the Macquarie River to Orange’s Suma Park Dam by about 39 kilometres of underground pipeline and will be operational by early next year.
“[The dam] doesn’t affect the pipeline project, it’s well advanced and studies have shown that it stacks up with minimal impact on the environment,” Mr Redmond said.
The proposed 90,000 megalitre dam, to be built at Needles Gap along the Belubula River, is touted as the solution to the region’s water security.
So was the Macquarie pipeline.
Approval for the pipeline, funding for the project and construction took four years and was not due to be completed until 2015.
Mr Redmond said there were many hurdles to overcome to get the project off the ground and he expected the planning of the proposed dam to encounter similar issues.
“There were a whole heap of steps to go through, exhaustive steps, and we’re talking about a pipeline that uses less than 1 per cent of the flow ... not a 90,000 megalitre dam,” he said.
Orange is expanding at a rapid rate and the pipeline is designed to secure the region’s water for about 50 years, Mr Redmond says.
If the dam gets the go-ahead, the pipeline combined with the dam and stormwater harvesting should secure the region’s water supply indefinitely, he said.
“The pipeline will be an option, there will be times where there is water available in one source but not another,” he said.
“It will be a real suite of sources you can go to.”