Water Security (GM Column 5 October 2019)

4 years ago | by

The Shannon Creek Dam is the centrepiece of the $180m Regional Water Supply Scheme that Council completed with our partners Clarence Valley Council to ensure a reliable water supply for the future.

The terrible ongoing drought in NSW and elsewhere has highlighted the issue of water security for many regions.

This is an issue that Coffs Harbour took on board back in the 1990s when the council of the time formed a partnership with Clarence Valley Council to build future-facing water infrastructure to provide a robust water supply.

The $180m Regional Water Supply Scheme, which was completed in 2009, was designed to ensure a reliable water supply for the growing Coffs Harbour community up to 2030 and beyond.

The Regional Water Supply Scheme includes a number of elements:

  • The construction of the 30,000ML off-stream storage dam at Shannon Creek.
  • 87km of underground pipeline distribution system linking the Nymboida River to the Reservoir at South Grafton, the Shannon Creek Storage near Coutts Crossing and Karangi Dam at Coffs Harbour.
  • An on-going and very successful WaterWise efficiency education programme centred on local schools.
  • Permanent Level One Water Restrictions to help remind residents to conserve water around the home.

All that work means that the Coffs Harbour region is way ahead of the vast majority of local authorities in Australia – but most importantly – our community is guaranteed access to a reliable water supply in the future.

The Regional Water Supply Scheme was undertaken alongside our $250m Sewerage Strategy, which was begun in 1997 and completed in 2014.

The main focus of the Strategy was the construction of three water reclamation plants at Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and Moonee.

The reason for this was because we wanted to avoid using as much of our precious drinking (or potable) water as possible for irrigation and dust suppression. Under licence from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), reclaimed water produced at our Water Reclamation Plants is supplied for reuse through a reclaimed water distribution network to many users in our community.

The success of both projects means that the Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley communities have a secure water supply for the coming decades. Having a secure, reliable water supply is paramount for the well-being and growth of any Australian community. That is why we invested so much time, energy and funding.

You can check on daily dam levels by going to Council’s website.

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