The push to increase the height of the wall of Malpas Dam, Armidale’s water storage, is gaining traction with Deputy Premier John Barilaro inspecting the dwindling supply dam and construction progress on the water pipeline to Guyra today.
Mr Marshall invited Mr Barilaro to visit the dam and discuss his plans to raise the dam wall by five metres to double storage capacity of 26,000 megalitres, transforming the dam into a regional water supply and realising the original vision when Malpas was built in the 1960s.
With the electorate experiencing its worst drought in living memory, Mr Marshall has been championing the need to start upgrading existing water supplies, so communities like Guyra and Armidale are less likely to run out of water during prolonged dry periods.
“I don’t think we need to build new dams when it could be more cost effective to increase the size of what we’ve already got,” Mr Marshall said.
“It’s great to be able to bring the Deputy Premier to the region, stand below the dam wall to not only see what is being achieved with the $13 million pipeline to Guyra, but also continue a discussion around what more can be done to improve our region’s water security.
“Malpas Dam is a 13,000-megalitre reservoir, which by adding only five metres to the wall’s height, could have its capacity doubled to 26,000 megalitres – it just makes sense.”
The NSW Government has allocated $527.1 million in the 2019-20 Budget to improve regional communities’ access to dependable, clean and safe water supplies and sewerage services.
Mr Marshall said the window of opportunity was now.
“I have had the conversation with Armidale Regional Council on the need to explore this option, now it’s time to take that discussion further and seek funding to investigate its viability so homes and businesses have reliable access to potable water during prolonged periods of drought,” he said.
“While dam levels are low and the weather is fine we should be pursuing an aggressive program of water infrastructure upgrades, so when it does rain again the facilities are in place to capture as much of the run off as possible.
“Public Works NSW will also work with council to dust off the old plans, update them and bring them forward so this project can be considered by government and hopefully funded.
“Just like the water pipeline to Guyra, I don’t want to wait around for the Commonwealth to think about whether it will help, I just want to crack on with this critical project and deliver water security to Guyra and Armidale.
“This may have a price tag in excess of $40 million, which is a lot of money, but it is a small price to pay for safe and secure water for both communities for many decades to come.”
Published on 26 Jun 2019