THERE was more good news yesterday with the announcement that tenders are being called for the construction of the $43.3million second and final stage of the Chaffey Dam upgrade.
Nearly two years after the three funding partners – the federal, state and local government tiers – came to the table to put up the funds needed to do the complete job, the detailed designs have been finalised and signed off and tenders are to be called for the actual construction of the works.
The second stage of the safety upgrade and the all-important and vital $16.9m augmentation of the dam, part of the overall $56m three-part project, is expected to start next year.
Those works will involve the raising of the dam wall by eight metres, the shifting of roads, changes to the Bowling Alley Pt bridge, and changes to other infrastructure because the new dam will actually increase the top level water mark by 6.5metres above its current peak.
The project will bring the capacity of the dam, 43km upstream from Tamworth, and the main water supply for the city, to 100,000 megalitres – up from its present 63,000 megalitres.
The latest news came in a joint statement from State Primary Industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and Tamworth mayor Col Murray.
The minister said the project would help secure water supplies for growth and also ensure safety downstream in the event of a probable maximum flood.
Cr Murray said the dam was a central piece of infrastructure and secured water supply for the next 40 years.
Tamworth councillor Phil Betts, a former chairman of the community reference panel that fought to get the augmentation upgrade to reality, described the announcement as great news and a win for everybody.
Both he and Tamworth Regional Council water director Bruce Logan noted that it was good news not just for the city generally, but even more so for the irrigation industry.
“The irrigation industry will benefit as well and for those in the Peel Valley,
well this will sustain this industry as it moves into the future,” Mr Logan said.
Cr Betts said irrigators now could be confident that while ever the city’s domestic and industrial water needs had to be met in increasing numbers as the population and industry grew, supplies to irrigators was now also assured for their growth.
Mr Logan said the 20 months since the funding was announced was not long in the scheme of things when it came to detailed designs for the dam. He was not surprised it had taken this long to complete.
Behind that had been plenty of studies, including flood mitigation and environmental impact, and concept designs to final design.
Black and Veatch was awarded the contract by State Water to design this next stage of the project 12 months ago.
MP Anderson said the next stage of works would provide economic benefits through jobs for locals.
“At this stage we estimate around 40 jobs will be supported by the augmentation works as well as local business benefits from supplying goods and services,” Mr Anderson said.
Construction is expected to take two years.