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Lachlan water security investigation

Lachlan water security investigation

Belubula river

Water security has historically been a challenge in the Lachlan Valley and is limiting economic growth for the region.
The valley has been subject to severe town water restrictions with long periods of little or no general security, agricultural water availability and restricted high security water.

About the Lachlan Valley Water Security Project

WaterNSW is responsible for delivering and operating infrastructure to provide for the State’s bulk water supply needs. As part of a broader commitment to improve the Water Security for Regions, the NSW Government has committed to investing in the water supply for the Lachlan region.  

Phase 1 Preliminary Water Storage Investigation - Complete

Phase 1 of the Lachlan Valley Water Security project was undertaken by WaterNSW in 2014. This first phase identified a range of different options for improving regional water security including the construction of a new dam at various sites and the upgrade of existing dams.  

Key recommendations from this phase included:

  • progress with field investigations for a new dam in the area near Cranky Rock. Investigations should focus on potential foundation and storage integrity risks.  
  • undertake a cost-benefit analysis to determine the economic value of the investments in water security improvement in the region.  

Phase 2 Investigations – Ongoing

In late 2016, WaterNSW announced that it had engaged GHD as its strategic partner to assist in delivering Phase 2 of the Lachlan Valley Water Security Project.  

Phase 2 of the project includes the following activities:  

  • Consulting with stakeholders and the community.  
  • Establishing the need, service levels, and reviewing  various build and non-build options including those from Phase 1, to develop a shortlist of options for further assessment.  
  • Carrying out field investigations at sites near Cranky Rock to assess major risks.  
  • Preparing a preliminary business case including a detailed cost-benefit analysis.  

If approved to proceed, a final business case with then be prepared to seek funding for the preferred option.

Phase 2 will involve an assessment of a range of issues including social, economic and environmental factors, in order to determine the preferred option for inclusion in the final business case. Consultation with the community and key stakeholders will be a key focus to help WaterNSW assess the feasibility  of options.

Phase 2 - Part 1: Project Timeline for the Preliminary Business Case

December 2016 - February 2017      
  • Commence stakeholder consultation process - including the establishment of a Community Reference Group (CRG), regular project bulletins and updates on the WaterNSW website          
  • Review options and develop a long list for consideration          
  • Carry out preliminary site surveys and non-invasive investigations          
  • Begin development of preliminary business case          
March 2017 - July 2017      
  • Develop a shortlist of options          
  • Carry out further detailed geotechnical and environmental site investigations in the vicinity of Cranky Rock          
  • Ongoing stakeholder and community consultation          
  • Select preferred option and begin more detailed development for inclusion in the preliminary business case          
September 2017          
  • Submit preliminary business case          

Current Activities

Field investigations

Over the coming months WaterNSW and GHD will undertake a range of field investigations to assess the feasibility of a dam in the Cranky Rock area. A new dam is just one of a range of water security initiatives being assessed.

Preliminary site surveys at Cranky Rock are already underway. Information collected from the preliminary surveys will be used to scope out further  detailed environmental and geotechnical investigations. These more detailed investigations are scheduled to occur between March and May 2017.

WaterNSW and GHD are working closely with landowners in the investigation areas to keep them informed of any upcoming field work and to minimise disruptions to any farming or property operations.

Cost Benefit Analysis Study

As part of these Phase Two Investigations, a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) study is being undertaken. The CBA will be an important part of the preliminary business case. It will compare the forecast costs with the forecast benefits for various options and determine which option offers superior value for  money. The CBA will help to make sure that the preferred option provides the greatest community benefit for the cost.

Project Documents



The phase 1 scoping study investigations were completed in December 2014 recommending further studies in the vicinity of the Cranky Rock area on the Belubula River. The following report and executive summary provides further detail:

Fact sheets

Media releases

How to get involved

Opportunities for being kept up to date and for providing input to the development of the preliminary business case will occur throughout 2017. Below are some of the ways you can be involved or kept up to date.

Project Updates

We will provide regular updates over the course of the project via email and on the WaterNSW website. Please contact us to join the project mailing list.

Email us at:

Community Information Sessions

Out project team will be holding community information sessions where you will have the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions about the project. These sessions will be advertised in local newspapers and here on our website.  

Community Reference Group

We are currently forming a Community Reference Group (CRG) for the project. A number of identified stakeholder groups have been invited to participate including water user groups, local government, water utilities, Indigenous representatives and caving groups. We are also calling for interested members  of the community to express interest in participating on the group.

The CRG will be a key form of communication between the local community, stakeholder groups and the project team. CRG members will be meeting in the Orange area at least three times during the preliminary business case with the first meeting scheduled for March 2017.

People who are interested in nominating for the group should have skills and experience that will contribute to the options development process, have links to a local organisation/community or the wider Lachlan Valley region, and make a positive contribution to the group's discussions.

To nominate to be a member of the CRG, please fill out the expression of interest form below. You will be advised in writing about the outcome of your nomination.

For more information, contact Madeleine Dignam, Community Engagement Officer on (02) 4725 2509 or or  

Nominations close on 24 February 2017

Contact us

To learn more about the project, contact our Community Engagement Team:

Phone: (02) 4725 2509


Send us your inquiry

Thursday 29 June
2,427,598 ML
2,581,749 ML
8,706 ML
1,244 ML
-3,062 ML
Thursday 29 June