MURRURUNDI has a long history of water insecurity, but the small community will soon have access to a secure water source from Lake Glenbawn with the first pipes for the $14.2 million Scone to Murrurundi water pipeline laid today.
Upper Hunter Shire Council Mayor Wayne Bedggood, Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen, several councillors and council staff attended the start of construction early this morning to see ground work begin on the 40 kilometre pipeline, due to be completed mid-2020.
Upper Hunter Mayor Wayne Bedggood said it was fabulous to see the project finally getting underway.
"We couldn't be happier - it's great to actually stop talking about it and get on with doing it," he said.
"It was fabulous to finally see the trench being dug and pipe being laid."
Originally Contractor Leed Engineering were going to start in Scone and Wingen and head north, however excavators started in Murrurundi, in O'Connell St on Sunday as some rain fell and light snow dusted the surrounding hills.
Two teams, each with equipment including a 30 tonne excavator, will be on the ground simultaneously to install the pipeline.
"They intend to have a team heading south and a team heading north and hopefully meet somewhere in the middle, depending on who progresses the best," Mr Bedggood said.
The pipeline will be buried for the entire route. The only areas where the completed pipeline will be visible is where it enters/exits the pump stations and there will be above ground access points to the pipeline valves along the way.
There will also be opportunities for landholders along the pipeline to connect.
"All the landholders along the reach should have been contacted by now," Mr Bedggood said.
"And there's an opportunity for them to connect in, it will be treated water, so that makes it a little less palatable for farmers but having water surety going past your front gate for stock and domestic supplies will still be a benefit.
"I haven't got the numbers yet but we're hoping that we will have a really good buy in to that," he said.
The pipeline design also allows for drinking water reticulation and reservoirs for the towns of Blandford, Parkville and Wingen to be constructed in the future.
Mr Bedggoood said that pursuing the connection for these towns has been a top priority.
"They're obviously not being hooked in to the pipeline at this point in time but we do have a substantial amount of funding going forward for actually hooking them in to the residential," he said.
"So they'll be coming online a lot sooner than we had anticipated."
The pipeline is a project that has been more than six years in the making and the Mayor said they can't wait to turn the tap on at the other end.
"Water surety for Murrurundi is something that's been talked about for years - it was talked about when Murrurundi was a stand alone shire," he said.
"We would like to thank the Murrurundi residents for their patience and tolerance and also the way they've used their water.
"They've been fantastic - I think we asked once for them to bring the water levels back down and they actually did that for us which is really difficult so they've been fabulous."
The pipeline project is estimated to cost $14.2 million, with over $13 million in funding provided by the NSW Government's Restart NSW Water Security for Regions program. The remainder of the project funding is provided by Upper Hunter Shire Council.
Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen, said the pipeline and village connections are part of the NSW Government's ongoing commitment to water infrastructure for regional communities, through the Water Security for Regions program and the new $1 billion Safe and Secure Water program.
The pipeline is due to be completed in mid 2020 and it is anticipated that a new, larger reservoir for Murrurundi will be built soon after.