Malpas Dam Upgrade

Armidale Region Water Security - Malpas Dam Upgrade

Measures to increase Malpas Dam's storage capacity and boost water security for the Armidale region have moved another step closer, with Council launching a long-term assessment of the Armidale region's water infrastructure, supply needs and community expectations.

Council has secured valuable funding to help complete a 30-year Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) Strategy and Secure Yield Model, seen as a necessary blueprint for increasing storage capacity at Malpas Dam and any other major water security options. The strategy, estimated to cost about $180,000, will underpin further grant applications for detailed planning, design, business case and construction works to improve the region’s water security.

The Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, helped secure NSW Government financial assistance for a review of the IWCM, to address any gaps in the strategy. This is the first stage of an extensive process to develop detailed design plans that may lead to a construction contract – subject to regulatory and environmental approvals  from the NSW Government and support from Infrastructure NSW. The process began last year, with Council inviting tenders from specialised dam consultants to help produce concept plans for an increase in storage capacity at Malpas Dam. Council officers are also liaising closely with NSW Government departments to strengthen the IWCM and, as a result, Council’s position to secure funding for a dam upgrade or other associated works. The strategy will ensure any proposed capital works projects stand up to financial  analysis and provide affordable town water services for our residents and businesses over the long term. It also addresses the complex connections between community expectations and needs and the elements of the region’s urban water cycle, which includes water supply, sewage and storm water.

The Act requires local water utilities to obtain Ministerial approval for the construction or any significant modifications of dams and flood retention basins which could cause a significant threat to public safety if there was a failure in that infrastructure. Section 60 approvals provide an independent review of the proposed works to ensure they are fit for purpose and provide robust, safe and cost-effective solutions, while meeting environmental and regulatory requirements.

Council has developed a Malpas Dam Upgrade ROADMAP (PDF 1.8MB) in consultation with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPIE) to highlight the significant steps that need to be achieved to secure the region's water supply with the upgrade of Malpas Dam. The roadmap is designed to assist stakeholders and the community to understand the process for a dam upgrade which is likely to take approximately five years. This road map will evolve as Council moves through milestones.