Local News

The Scone to Murrurundi Pipeline is officially pumping water

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Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen at the official opening. Image: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse

From today Murrurundi, a town that has never had a secure water source finally has one.

The Scone to Murrurundi Pipeline is officially finished and water is flowing from Glenbawn Dam at Scone to Murrurundi.

The $14.2 million 40 kilometre pipeline is able to carry two million litres of water a day which Upper Hunter Shire Council said is also a significant step towards the creation of water reticulation system for villages along the pipeline.

“This is a momentous occasion for Murrurundi and I remember back in 2014 when we had to cut the town water supply off, albeit at that time for an algae outbreak and it was a problem for Murrurundi as water has been a problem for Murrurundi for many, many decades,” said Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen at the official opening today.

“It provides long term water security for the residents of Murrurundi, something that they’ve never had before and that is the most important thing for people,”

“There is one particular business that I can think of who is looking to relocate and set up in Murrurundi, one of their key requirements is water,”

“Now they’ll be able to do that, now they’ll be able to come into Murrurundi, set up their business, employ people which only generates a level of vibrancy into the town of Murrurundi and I’m sure the people of Murrurundi will celebrate in due course,” he said.

The town, which has always used the Pages River as its water source, has endured serious shortages for many periods in its history.

Murrurundi residents have been on level 6 restrictions since July 2018.

When the river ran dry, the town’s water was trucked from Scone most days from January 2019. The total cost of carting water was over $675,000, of which around $290,000 will be subsidised by the NSW Government.

The water supply has also been supplemented by a $250,000 emergency water bore, also subsidised by the NSW Government, which has contributed approximately 60 million litres of water since late 2019 – saving 2400 water carting trips from Scone.

Today, coinciding with the pipeline being opened, the water restrictions were eased to Level 2.

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Image credit: Cecilia Connell/ABC Upper Hunter

“They [residents] have been absolutely superb through this. They have put up with a record-breaking drought, hot weather, they’ve been on the most severe restrictions you can be on without not having water, they’ve been on those for almost two years and we’ve been trucking water up from Scone for almost 18 months of that period and they’ve tolerated that, they’ve put up with that, they’ve done very little whining and complaining,” said Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Wayne Bedggood.

“We’ve had droughts before, but this was a drought on the back of a drought and our water aquifers didn’t recharge so they didn’t really recover from the drought that we’d gone through, and this drought came on quite rapidly,”

“We didn’t have the reserves and we still don’t have the recharge and for anybody watching, we are still not out of the drought. Yes its rained and yes its green but we’re still not getting the recharge in our underground water systems,” said Mayor Bedggood.

Glenbawn Dam is currently sitting at 39.8 per cent and Michael Johnsen said it is quite a large dam so the additional water being pumped out shouldn’t make too much a difference to the levels.

“The capacity of Lake Glenbawn where it draws its water from predominantly is quite good,”

“Given the fact that it was doubled in size in the 1980s gives you some indication of the capacity of water that might be there and the water security for Scone as well so we don’t anticipate there being any problem as far as that’s concerned.”

“When you look at the volume of water that’s actually coming up the pipeline and used by Murrurundi it’s a very small figure relative to the total amount,” said Michael Johnsen.

Michael Johnsen and Mayor Bedggood thanked everyone involved including the residents, Council staff, Leed Engineering and Construction and the properties that were impacted by the pipeline going through.