Central Tablelands Water (CTW) has hosed down accusations from Carcoar residents of “stealing our water” at a public forum.
Quizzed on the matter, CTW chairman David Somervaille emphasised since Orange had built the Macquarie pipeline, Orange’s water supply was now slightly more secure than what CTW could access from Lake Rowlands.
“At the time, back when Orange was at the brink of carting water in, yes Lake Rowland’s customers were doing better than Suma Park Dam in Orange, but that’s different now,” he said.
Mr Somervaille was quick to quash any notions Orange would be sucking water out of Lake Rowlands because of the pipeline.
“It’s only to be used in severe drought situations when we are just as likely to need water coming this way, to Blayney, than they are the other way because of the Macquarie River pipeline,” he said.
He also said the pipeline from Carcoar to Millthorpe would replace the existing pipeline supplying water to Millthorpe and state government funding meant CTW would receive $15 million-worth of infrastructure for just $2.5 million.
The two entities will maintain their own water restrictions.
On Tuesday night, Orange deputy mayor Jason Hamling asked for an update on vandalism along the pipeline and whether a culprit had been caught.
Council operations manager John Boyd told councillors leaks had been found in already-laid plastic sewer pipeline, while one hole had also been found in a metal water pipe.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said six kilometres of the 61-kilometre pipeline had been tested, with the other three affected kilometres awaiting results.
“There are a few options to get a more precise test on where and how many leaks there are,” he said.
“The one currently being considered is a gas test – they pump gas into the pipe, then use a detector to find holes where it seeps up through the soil. This will give a much more precise indication of how many holes there are and where they are.”
Mr Redmond said the council would approach insurers once the cost was known.
Investigations are continuing and anyone with information is urged to contact Orange Police, with the council to issue a reward of $25,000 for information leading to a conviction.