The Wilcannia Weir Replacement project is gearing up to start construction next year with the last planning milestones to be completed in the coming months. 

Leading engineering, construction and architectural company GHD has been awarded the detailed design contract, building on the months of planning, investigations and other work carried out to enable construction to start in 2022.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, said the new, state-of-the art weir will deliver greater water security and cultural, economic and recreational benefits for the people of Wilcannia for many years to come.

“Having just visited Wilcannia a few weeks ago, I understand more than ever the river’s importance to the community and the integral role it plays in maintaining residents’ health and livelihoods,” Mrs Pavey said.

“A healthy river is also vital to Aboriginal and First Nations people who’ve lived on its shores and their surrounds for thousands of years. It’s a sacred place, rich in cultural heritage, and it’s also a place for the entire community to swim, fish and enjoy the natural beauty of the waterway.

“During the past few years we’ve done an incredible amount of planning work to ensure we get this project right. With the appointment of the detailed designers, we’ll soon be able to get shovels in the ground.

“This will be the first time a weir of this design has been built in NSW, with a much larger fishway coupled with 3.5m wide gates that can flexibly operate to allow water to pass through when flows are high and also store water during times of drought.

“This in-built flexibility will enable the weir to operate most effectively, ensuring the community has access to a more reliable water supply, while also maintaining connectivity and reducing the impact on the environment upstream and downstream.” 

Mrs Pavey said the project will secure the community’s water supply, support its deep cultural ties to the Baaka/Darling River, and boost environmental, economic and recreational outcomes for generations to come.

Water Infrastructure NSW is also engaging with local businesses to share potential opportunities to help deliver the project. 

“We want to deliver sustainable employment opportunities for the people of Wilcannia, and if you own or operate a business locally, we want to hear from you,” Mrs Pavey said.

Businesses including material supply, machine operation, truck hire, general construction and labour hire, engineering and consulting, fencing signage, surveying, security, accommodation and more are encouraged to register their interest.

The Australian and NSW Governments have together invested $30 million towards development and delivery of the new weir under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program.

Water Infrastructure NSW has consulted extensively with the community on the new weir and is currently undertaking design and environmental assessments. The project is on track to progress to the construction phase next year.

For more information, and to watch videos and animations further explaining the project, visit: https://water.dpie.nsw.gov.au/water-infrastructure-nsw/regional-projects/wilcannia-weir

Businesses can register their interest online from 8 November to 17 December 2021.

In-person drop-in sessions will also be held on 16 and 17 November.  

For more information and to register, visit:  dpie.nsw.gov.au/wilcannia-weir