Tenterfield Shire Council has secured up to $7 million in funding to construct a new Water Treatment Plant on Tenterfield Dam, under the State Government’s $1 billion Safe and Secure Water Program.
The current water treatment plant was state-of-the-art when it was constructed back in 1931, but its age and superseded technology means it wastes a litre of water for each litre of potable water produced. That's an alarming statistic as the level of Tenterfield Dam falls.
The funding is the latest step in a process that extended over the past six years, requiring the dam wall to be bolstered (at a cost of $10.4 million) and an Integrated Catchment Water Cycle Management Plan to be produced, before council was eligible for the grant. Council's chief executive Terry Dodds said there are a few projects still to be tackled to complete the water reticulation project, but they are insignificant in comparison.
On announcing the funding, MP Thomas George complimented council staff on their rigourous pursuit of the project, enabling the grant to be allocated.
“We know that our communities depend on access to clean, reliable and affordable water, and wastewater infrastructure that meets environmental and health standards and the demand on these services are continuing to grow," he said.
“Today’s funding announcement shows that we are getting on with the job of delivering essential local water and wastewater infrastructure across the state, including right here in Tenterfield.
Mayor Peter Petty welcomed the announcement, saying the funding will go a long way in improving the water security for the region, with delivery of the project expected to cost more than $9 million.
“Currently Tenterfield is experiencing extreme drought and that is having a direct impact on the town’s water supply. As council moves forward this upgrade will allow it to manage its water delivery more effectively, so residents continue to have access to water which meets health and community standards."
Mr Dodds expects it to be 2-2.5 years before the new facility is operational. He said there have been major advances in water treatment technology over the past decade, due primarily to the mining industry. Modern plants remove smaller particulates from the water, with negligible wastage.
In the meantime, measures are being assessed for filtering the water byproduct of the treatment process and returning it to the dam, instead on down Tenterfield Creek.
Mr Dodds said this will be an energy-hungry process, but the priority at the moment is making water available.
Watch the live announcement, including Mr Dodd's description of current difficulties, and new technologies..