Water security, access and infrastructure will be put under the microscope as part of Namoi Unlimited’s ‘Water for the Future’ project.
The Water for the Future project is one of the three Strategic Regional Priorities for the Joint Organisation. Planning for this project commenced in June 2018 and it is an investment that demonstrates a proactive approach towards securing the region’s future water needs by the five Member Councils involved.
Acting Chair of Namoi Unlimited and Mayor of Tamworth Regional Council Col Murray says, “water underpins our communities and economies, it underwrites employment, the environment, industry and I think attitude in this current climate.
“For this region to continue to thrive – we need to understand our water needs now and into the future.
“We need to get ahead of the game, to plan and prepare our water security for the future.
“We think this work is critical to the community and to confidence in our region.”
The aquifers and catchments in the Namoi have been under the microscope for some time, this project will consolidate research across aquifers, catchments and urban water utilities to identify current regional access, security, quality and usage.
Councillor Murray said “in some respects we are lucky, our focus as individual Councils has been on urban water for our communities and there has been investment; the Chaffey dam wall extension, Quipolly Dam and Gunnedah water treatment plant upgrades.
“As a regional group of Councils we want to help Walcha Council sure up its supplies, provide Gwydir Shire with capacity to increase its capacity for economic growth.
“Water infrastructure takes a long time to plan, develop and fund – we want this region to be ahead of the game.”
The project is expected to overlay existing sources of water with future demand; in the community, from the economy and infrastructure that will be needed for growth. It will involve an audit of agricultural trends, consultation with producers, water users, business, processors, climate and industry groups and extensive mapping, including areas of existing water shortfall.
“The Namoi Valley has a brand and a reputation as a premier food bowl in Australia, to continue to support agriculture, to be innovative and be a region that is a productive place to live and work, we need water.
“We want to ensure that the right water is available at the right times for ourselves as Councils, for businesses, for producers and the people that live here – it’s that simple.
“This drought seems to be relentless, it’s devastating – but it will rain again and we want to be better prepared for the next one. We want a better understanding of how as a region water can be used, stored and accessed to sustain communities, drive growth and shape decision making,” says Cr Murray.
Namoi Unlimited has engaged consultants Rhelm for the project. Work has already begun, with a final report due mid-year. Any individual or organisation wishing to be involved in the project should contact Namoi Unlimited.