Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers
Why is the Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline project needed?
Broken Hill and surrounding communities have suffered from significant water shortages over the past decade which continues to impact community and economic development and business confidence.
Short-term solutions, including a desalination plant in Broken Hill and a shallow bore field on Lake Menindee, were put in place to meet the community’s needs until at least 2019.
In late 2016 the NSW Government appointed WaterNSW to build a single 270 km pipeline that will source water from the River Murray near Wentworth. The pipeline will supply up to 37.4 megalitres of raw water per day to Essential Water in Broken Hill as the local water provider. Essential Water will continue to retain responsibility for water treatment and water distribution to its customers.
The raw water will be sourced from the River Murray near Wentworth, with the pipeline being constructed underground and expected to follow the Silver City Highway corridor to Broken Hill.
Why was the pipeline solution chosen?
To find a long-term solution for Broken Hill, the NSW Government looked at potential options, including sourcing water from deep aquifers, different pipeline routes, and changing existing surface water arrangements.
The Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline was identified by experts from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Public Works and Infrastructure NSW as the best solution because it provides the most reliable water supply sourced from the River Murray; a supply that will be reliable for future generations.
The consideration of the various water supply options involved extensive economic, social, environmental and technical analysis to ensure that only options that were feasible were taken forward. A summary of the business case can be found on the NSW Government website.
How will water pricing be decided?
The upfront capital costs of the pipeline will be fully funded by the NSW Government. Once constructed, ongoing operating and maintenance costs will be funded by Essential Water and the NSW Government.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) will determine the pricing for customers in Broken Hill. IPART will be asked to ensure that the share of the cost borne by Broken Hill customers through the Essential Water determination is fair and affordable. All other costs above the customer share determined by IPART will be met by the NSW Government.
IPART will undertake a public consultation process.
The water pricing structure will be finalised in 2019.