Newcrest's Cadia mine will reduce the amount of water it uses from Orange by two megalitres a day to help combat the drought, which will give the city more water as it struggles on level five water restrictions.
Eight megalitres of treated effluent is currently pumped from Orange's Sewerage Plant to Cadia a day as part of a long-standing agreement, while the mine also draws from groundwater to meet its operational needs.
The two megalitres of effluent will be used by council to meet its environmental obligation of sustaining water flow into Summer Hill Creek and Blackmans Swamp Creek.
Currently the 1.75 megalitres of water is required to flow through Summer Hill Creek a day, which council currently releases out of Suma Park Dam or its stormwater harvesting scheme.
That flow would be replaced with treated effluent, which is water which has had a high level of treatment to remove bacteria, solids and other contaminants.
Orange City Council is licensed by state authorities to release treated effluent into Blackmans Swamp Creek.
This change will leave an extra two megalitres a day in Orange's water storage reserves from Suma Park Dam to be used for community consumption.
Newcrest Cadia Valley Operations General Manager Peter Sharpe said he is pleased to be working with the Orange community.
"Newcrest is working with the City of Orange to help meet license requirements concerning environmental flows in the region and has agreed to return 2ML/day of effluent," Mr Sharpe said.
"This will satisfy the Council's environmental flow obligations and replace the release of surface water from the Suma Park Dam."
"This arrangement will be in place for the next few months until this requirement is no longer required.
"Currently the average net daily draw of water into the Cadia operations is 30ML/day. This return of water will not impact production in the current year."
Orange mayor Reg Kidd has welcomed the Newcrest decision.
"Orange City Council and Newcrest have a long history of working together to benefit the local community and this is another example of that collaboration," Cr Kidd said.
"The use of treated effluent for environmental flows will create a significant buffer during this drought and will mean more water in Suma Park Dam can be retained for domestic use.
"Orange residents have done a great job in reducing consumption and Cadia is doing the same, which will help Orange get through this drought."
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