Western Sydney Borefields
Western Sydney Borefields
About the project
NSW is in severe drought and planning is underway to investigate several projects around the state that could provide emergency drought supply.
WaterNSW is investigating infrastructure options to augment supply of water. One of those options is the Western Sydney Borefields.
Accessing groundwater to supplement water supply in times of severe drought was first considered in 2004 during the Millennium drought. The Leonay and Wallacia borefields options were previously investigated in 2006-2008 and have remained a potential option for drought response in the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Water Plan (PDF).
The Western Sydney Borefields are now being further investigated in response to the severity of the current drought. The project areas are located in the suburbs of Leonay, Emu Plains, Emu Heights and Wallacia and the local government areas of Penrith and Liverpool. WaterNSW is developing a Strategic Business Case to seek approval and funding to proceed with the projects.
WaterNSW has engaged a delivery partner to support the delivery of the strategic business case and select a preferred option for the construction of two borefield areas (i) Leonay-Emu Plains-Emu Heights, and (ii) Wallacia-Greendale. Water from these sites would be supplied to the Orchard Hills Water Treatment Plant (WTP).
About the proposed project
- This project is about supplying water to local users in Western Sydney and lower Blue Mountains during extreme drought by supplementing dam supplies with groundwater
- Extracting water from the Western Sydney Borefields would allow approximately 60 megalitres per day (ML/day) to be transferred into the Sydney supply network
- The water would be treated and distributed from the Orchard Hills Water Treatment Plant (WTP)
- The resource was proven during the Millennium Drought investigations, but further investigations are now required to determine final yields, water quality, optimum production bore sites and pipeline routes
- The number and location of boreholes will be determined after further geological and environmental investigations
- Expectations are that the borefields could operate continuously for two to three years if severe drought conditions continued, followed by a longer period of recovery
- In non-drought times the aquifer would refill with natural rainfall and the infrastructure would stay in place but could be “mothballed” at minimal cost.
What happens next
- Further drilling and site investigations together with thorough environmental investigations will be undertaken at Leonay-Emu Plains-Emu Heights and Wallacia-Greendale to assess environmental impacts of the proposal
- WaterNSW will carry out detailed environmental investigations in 2019 and 2020 to understand the impacts of the project on the surrounding community and environment
- These investigations will include detailed consultation with key stakeholders and the community as part of the assessment of the proposal.
For more information about the project or to enquire about any of the project activities contact us or call 1300 662 007.