AN estimated $1 million in damage has been done to the southern pipeline project, with Canobolas detectives investigating.
Plastic sewer pipes in stockpiles between Forest and Huntley roads have had holes drilled in them, which if laid would cause them to leak.
It remains unclear whether the 6.2 kilometres of already-laid pipes have also been damaged, with pressure testing required on both laid and unlaid materials.
Machinery has also suffered at the hands of the saboteurs, with equipment set on fire or vandalised. The pipes for the water pipeline are steel and no damage has been found.
While Orange City Council and the contractor are still investigating, preliminary estimates indicate the damage could exceed $1 million.
Orange mayor John Davis said he was shocked by the attacks.
“I’ve been in public life a long time and in terms of new lows, I think this would qualify,” he said.
“It is not too much to say this is a disgusting act.”
Cr Davis said insurance would pay for the damage, however ratepayers would bear the burden of higher premiums.
He said whatever the motivation had been, the culprits had failed.
“The project will proceed, it will deliver new services for Spring Hill and Lucknow and will deliver water security for the region,” he said.
“If those responsible are from our community, then they have fired off a spectacular own goal.”
Canobolas Local Area Command Chief Inspector Dave Harvey said the matter was under investigation.
“Police have assigned Orange detectives to investigate … and consider it to be a serious matter,” he said.
The Orange to Carcoar pipeline, built in partnership between Orange City Council and Central Tablelands Water, has been under construction since April and recently reached the Blayney border.
The project is designed to take potable water between the Icely Road water treatment plant and Carcoar Dam in the event of a water shortage.
It would also supply water to Spring Hill, Lucknow and Orange Airport, where land is proposed to be rezoned for an industrial business park.
The project received $21.21 million in funding from the NSW Government.
Chief Insp Harvey and Cr Davis encouraged anyone with information to contact Orange Police Station on 6363 6399 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
“I also ask for people to keep an eye out and report suspicious behaviour in the vicinity of the project,” Cr Davis said.
Security has been increased around the pipeline.