Pipeline progress leads to extension of Weir 32 releases

Pipeline progress leads to extension of Weir 32 releases

11 January 2019

Releases into the upper stretches of the Lower Darling can be extended to meet a crucial deadline for local producers, WaterNSW confirmed today.

The decision follows the first successful phase of testing for the Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline.

Conservative planning to ensure supply for local communities including Broken Hill called for releases to cease from Weir 32 at the end of 2018 without significant inflows.

With the pipeline project easily passing the first of its testing and commissioning phases, that deadline has been extended to the end of January.

Four block banks built to extend supply at key points along the Lower Darling are now holding water to meet the basic needs of local landholders.

WaterNSW estimates that with continued drought conditions and zero inflows into the lakes it can deliver a minimum of 50 megalitres per day (ML/day) to properties between Weir 32 and the first block bank at Karoola in the upper stretch of the Lower Darling until the end of January.

The block banks should have capacity to provide water until mid-year and sufficient supply exists in Lake Wetherell to meet Menindee’s water needs until June this year as well.

Feedback from local grape-growers had indicated that the Australia Day weekend is a key watering period so the ability to meet that requirement was a timely benefit, WaterNSW executive manager Adrian Langdon said.

“Growing confidence around the scheduling for the pipeline means that we can slightly relax our worst-case scenario timeframes and extend supply to the river’s upper reaches,” Mr Langdon said.

“While it is vital to be conservative around allocating water resources, we recognise that the pipeline’s progress is bringing water security to Broken Hill on time, and that is enabling us to extend supply to a key group of producers at a crucial time.”

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

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