The Australian and New South Wales Governments are taking the next step in safeguarding the water security of the Tamworth region, with the formal awarding of a contract to undertake the detailed design and construction of a new replacement pipeline link between Dungowan village and Tamworth.

The pipeline is part of a large program of work the two governments are carrying out to upgrade and build new infrastructure to boost water supply in rural and regional areas that were devastated during the 2019-20 drought. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the announcement.

“The replacement of the Dungowan pipeline is an essential piece of early infrastructure that is critical to Tamworth’s current water supply network,” Mr McCormack said.

“Importantly, it will also eventually be part of the network to transport water from the proposed new Dungowan Dam to the city of Tamworth.

“If built, these projects will increase the resilience of local water supplies and the capacity to meet the demands of Tamworth and the Peel Valley’s agricultural industries.”

New South Wales Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the contract had been awarded to MPC Kinetic, an accomplished water infrastructure deliverer that successfully constructed the new 18.2-kilometre pipeline from Chaffey Dam to Dungowan village.

“Despite recent rainfalls providing some relief to these regions, the need to plan for future drought events remains paramount,” Mrs Pavey said.

“The Tamworth community and farm families along the Peel River have not forgotten the pain they experienced due to the prolonged drought and severe water insecurity endured in the years up to the end of the summer of 2019-20, when Chaffey dam fell as low as 13 per cent capacity.

“It is critical that we use the time we have now to plan for and build the infrastructure needed to ensure that these communities have a more secure and reliable water supply and have better protection for future drought events.”

Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said securing the services of a firm familiar with the region, its water network and local communities will help ensure the economic benefits from the project are realised more quickly.

”I’ve been driving this project forward and am pleased it is taking its next step,” Mr Joyce said.

“Around 30 local businesses are expected to be engaged by MPC Kinetic to help deliver these works and we anticipate up to 70 local jobs will be created throughout the project

“This will provide much-needed employment and a boost to the local economy as it continues to recover from the impact of drought and COVID-19.”

New South Wales Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the preliminary design of the new pipeline has begun, while the detailed design is expected to be completed in parallel with the finalisation of the business case for the proposed Dungowan dam, in late 2021.

“The new pipeline is an example of the works at Dungowan that can proceed while the dam proposal is being assessed for approval by the NSW and Commonwealth governments,” Mr Anderson said.

“These early works are required in their own right – and will also serve as a critical foundation building block to enable streamlined delivery of the major construction phases once the dam project is approved.”

The pipeline is part of the New Dungowan Dam project, which is being jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments.