The water level at Tenterfield Dam may be lapping the top of the spillway but memories of crippling drought and severe water restrictions are still fresh (and current for some property owners, particularly in the shire's far north-east).
Council's project to protect residents from a recurrence of 2019's water shortages -- through a network of eight bores accessing three different aquifers to supplement the dam's supply -- is in its final stages.
Council chief executive Terry Dodds said all the pipework has been completed. All that remains is the installation and testing of the electronic telemeters which will allow the bore pumps to be turned on and off remotely. Even with the dam holding ample water the system will be exercised on a rotating monthly basis to ensure all is ready should additional water be required.
After some trying times for the town's water supply system-- challenged by drought and then bushfire runoff putting the ageing filtration plant under enormous pressure -- the new dam wall and the imminent completion of the bore project indicates some positive momentum.
The $2.645 million federal grant from the Building Better Regions Fund announced by MP Barnaby Joyce In June means a new $9.645 million filtration plant is now fully funded. Tenders for its supply were released by council last week.
Despite unfounded concerns earlier this year that council was planning to recycle treated water into the potable water system, Mr Dodds said there is no specific mention of such a capability in the tender documents.
"The new system will be designed to handle just about anything, as the design life will stretch decades," he said.
There's no time frame yet on when the new filtration plant will be up and running, that aspect forming part of the tender review, Mr Dodds said.
Dependent of who wins the tender pandemic concerns may have an impact as some components of the system which may need to be sourced from overseas, meaning potential for supply delays.
Ironically the old filtration plant is enjoying a reprieve of late. Mr Dodds said the quality of the raw water entering the plant is excellent, easily the best it's been all year.