Supporting regional towns to improve water quality and dam safety

Building resilience in regional NSW

WaterNSW is working collaboratively with local councils and water utilities across regional NSW as part of a program to reduce risks to water quality and dam safety and help build the resilience of communities.

The Town Water Risk Reduction Program (TWRRP) addresses some of the challenges facing local water utilities, including source water quality for regional towns, and the safety of regional dams.

The NSW Government recently announced $10 million funding for the TWRRP so that WaterNSW can provide vital support to local water utilities in regional and remote areas to help improve water security, safety, reliability and quality.

“One of the big lessons learned from the most recent drought is the water sector must collaborate more closely to build expertise and provide better access to niche skills outside the normal local government function,” Fiona Smith, WaterNSW Executive Manager Strategy and Performance, said:

“This program is a whole-of-government response that brings the strengths of the major entities in the water sector to local councils, who can choose to engage with the skills and knowledge that will best assist them.”

The new funding for TWRRP follows the success of pilot studies completed by WaterNSW with six regional councils - Tamworth, Orange, Clarence Valley, Tweed Shire, Hay Shire and Murrumbidgee.

Tweed River neat Uki
Raw water from the Tweed River is pumped to the Uki water treatment plant where it is treated to supplying drinking water for the village.
Uki village
The village of Uki near Mount Warning in the Tweed Valley was one of the pilot study sites in WaterNSW's Town Water Risk Reduction Program.

Case study: Working with Tweed Shire Council

WaterNSW worked with Tweed Shire Council to better understand, prioritise and respond to water quality risks associated with Tweed’s water filtration plants. The Catchment Management and Water Quality Pilot Study was conducted over six months.

Outputs of this study paved the way for future supply system risk assessments to be performed, as well as investigating opportunities for improved catchment management.

Tweed Shire Council, Manager Water and Wastewater – Operations, Brie Jowett, said the pilot provided a great opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing about water operations and regulatory functions, as well as an opportunity to learn from, and benchmark against, other councils.

“WaterNSW staff were facilitators of invaluable discussion and knowledge sharing across our various teams,” Brie said. “This initiative will help us improve our water operations and the water security and resilience of the local government area.

“We look forward to continuing to work with WaterNSW to implement best-practice initiatives that will ensure we are looking after our water as best we can.”

Presenter and audience
WaterNSW presenting to Tweed Shire Council staff about regulatory catchment management.
Clarrie Hall Dam
Clarrie Hall Dam, 15 kilometres south-west of Murwillumbah, is one of the Tweed Shire’s main water supply dams.

Published date: 21 November 2023

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