Katrina Humphries: “Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are to be living on top of an impressive system of artesian and sub-artesian water”

RECENT rainfall in the New England and north-west regions has sadly skipped a large portion of the Moree Plains Shire.

However, Moree Plains Shire Council continues to supply its towns and villages with an unrestricted water supply, thanks to the security of its aquifers and Council’s long-term investment in water infrastructure, a recent media statement reports.

Currently, restrictions across the region range from permanent water conservation measures in Goondiwindi and Narrabri Shires, to Level 3 restrictions in Armidale, and recently imposed Level 4 restrictions in Tamworth.

Residents of the Moree Plains have benefited from unfettered access to town water supplies.

Despite record-breaking water consumption across the Shire over the summer quarter, Council anticipates a drop in consumption over the cooler months and has no plans to impose restrictions across the Shire.

“Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are to be living on top of an impressive system of artesian and sub-artesian water,” Mayor Katrina Humphries said.

“We are still in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record and despite all our neighbouring Shires enduring some form of water restrictions, Moree Plains Shire Council continues to provide an unrestricted safe and secure supply to its residents.

“This is not only thanks to our aquifers, but also thanks to Council’s long-term investment in local water infrastructure that makes the most of our natural resources.

Moree Shire is fortunate to have a plentiful and sustainable water supply, with no plans to impose water restrictions (Image: Bill Poulos).

“And although we are not anticipating implementing restrictions across the Shire, we do still ask residents to be mindful of their water use as we do our best to manage this precious resource responsibly.”

Across its towns and villages Council utilises a high security urban supply licenses to pump up to 4234 megalitres from a combination of bore and river water annually, providing a potable supply to Moree, Boggabilla, Mungindi, Pallamallawa, Toomelah, and a non-potable supply to the villages of Boomi, Garah, Gurley and Weemelah.

The ability to provide a secure supply is dependent on a well maintained storage and pumping system, explained Council’s water services manager Roland Heatley.

“We may have the benefit of reliable bore water, however getting it from the highest volume bore sites across our flat country and to the end-user requires an extensive pumping and storage system,” Mr Heatley said.

“To combat wear and tear of the hard water on our infrastructure and deliver consistent supply, Council has committed to a $3.3 million annual water main renewal program as well as a clean and inspect maintenance program to ensure all our water infrastructure is thoroughly checked and maintained every three-five years.”

On top of renewals and maintenance of its current network, Council has also been extending and shoring up potable supply across the region through a number of projects funded under the NSW Government’s Water Security for Regions program.

These include:

$4.57m fully funded Boggabilla-Toomelah Bi-directional Pipeline (completed 2018);

$3.96m fully funded Biniguy Potable Water Project (expected completion mid 2019);

$4.13m fully funded Ashley Potable Water Project (subject to community consultation); and

$3.12m 50% funded Moree Water Supply Project, increasing capacity of the Moree network for industrial and domestic demand (scheduled for commencement in 2020)

“Our water is part of what makes the Moree Plains unique, and Council is committed to making the most of it so that our communities and local economy can prosper,” Cr Humphries said.

Media Release: May 16, 2019