Plans for rural water supply gather momentum
Published on 28 February 2023
A crowd of 94 people attended a public information session at the Natte Yallock Recreation Reserve on Wednesday 22 February to learn more about the Southern Wimmera and Northeast Pyrenees Rural Water Supply Project.
The proposed pipeline is designed to provide a fit for purpose sustainable rural water supply across almost 354,000 hectares spanning parts of the Central Goldfields, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees Shires. If realized, the project could benefit areas that do not currently have a sustainable water supply, as well as delivering productivity improvements in agriculture and better environmental flows in rivers and streams.
Last week’s event was facilitated by Pyrenees Shire Council to share information and gauge interest in the project among local landholders.
“The fantastic turn out in Natte Yallock showed there is clearly strong interest in this ambitious and important project,” said Pyrenees Shire CEO Jim Nolan. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure water supplies that could drought-proof farms and support small communities across the region.”
The Pyrenees, Northern Grampians and Central Goldfields Shire Councils mailed almost 3,000 landholders across the project area in February to provide detailed background on the project and request landholders complete an expression of interest form.
“It’s very important for landholders to respond with their expressions of interest in the project,” said Mr Nolan. “A key component of the current feasibility study is to understand the level of demand that’s out there in the community.”
Information gathered from expressions of interest will also be used by the engineering team at GWMWater to map out the pipeline route.
“Designing the reticulation of water supplies is critical in this early planning stage,” Mr Nolan said. “Landholders should not take for
granted that they can apply for a connection at a later time, as this could place them at risk of either missing out on a supply, or access costing them significantly more.”
At last week’s information session farmers Ian Gould and Ralph Stephenson spoke of their experiences connecting to the South West Loddon supply, which was commissioned by GWMWater in 2020.
In addition to the benefits for livestock and crop spraying, the pair pointed out the significant improvements that project brought to the recreation reserve at Wedderburn.
The Southern Wimmera and Northeast Pyrenees project will likewise examine the possibility of similar benefits to small communities within the project footprint.
The Pyrenees Shire Council has engaged GWMWater to undertake the technical studies required for water supply and distribution envisioned by the project.
To learn more about the Southern Wimmera and Northeast Pyrenees Rural Water Supply Project, or to lodge an expression of interest, visit the GWMWater website (gwmwater.org.au/swnep-study), telephone 1300 659 961, or enquire via the Central Goldfields, Northern Grampians or Pyrenees Shire Councils.
Landholder expressions of interest close on Friday 31 March 2023.
The project feasibility study has been made possible with funding from the Victorian Government, with project partners Pyrenees, Northern Grampians and Central Goldfields Shire Councils, GWMWater and Central Highlands Water all making contributions.
Photo: Sally Marshall from GWMWater speaks to the audience at the public information session in Natte Yallock
Editor's note: the original closing date for Expressions of Interest in this project was 8 March 2023. This period has been extended to 31 March and the above text has been edited to reflect this change.